Sheffield Wednesday boss makes passionate fan plea after boos were 'not helpful'

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There was one message in particular that Danny Röhl appeared especially keen to get across in his press conference heading into Sheffield Wednesday’s monster Championship survival clash with Stoke City on Saturday.

Röhl’s side roared back from a two-goal deficit against high-flying Norwich City on Tuesday evening to earn a point that took them level with Huddersfield Town in the first safety spot heading into the final four matches of the campaign.

It was a comeback in which the Hillsborough atmosphere played a part, the crowd rising to the occasion in a chaotic second half as Wednesday’s unusually direct approach paid dividends.

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But with a section of the Owls crowd having booed the trailing side off the field at half-time and a smaller section seeming to jeer James Beadle after a first-half mishap lead to the Canaries’ second goal, there was a sense of disappointment apparent in Röhl around the S6 atmosphere in the first half.

Röhl’s Owls have chased down a 12-point gap on safety to put themselves in with every chance of staying in the division. A stat that did the rounds on social media this week showed that over the last four months Wednesday have produced form that would have them sat a place outside the play-offs.

With two home matches left to play, the Hillsborough boss is keen for supporters to bring only positive energy to the stadium, building an atmosphere that is hostile for opposition teams and not their own.

“The second half was exactly the atmosphere that we need,” he said. “First, we have always the responsibility on the pitch to create an atmosphere, but we should not forget we played against a strong side in the first half.

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“It is better that we stay together than if we start booing or if we are not behind the goalkeeper. This is not helpful. It is better that we stay together and that we help each other on and off the pitch. The second half gave the atmosphere, the pressure and the energy that we need in our situation. It was a point for everybody in the stadium.”

Röhl has repeatedly praised Wednesday fans for their impact on their rise through the points tally this season and earlier this month described the club’s supporters as being of ‘Premier League’ standard. His press conference themes struck as a challenge to home fans to play their part in shepherding his players through difficult moments on the field. Recent history shows how much of an impact the S6 atmosphere can have on opposition sides.

He continued: “If we make a good performance our fans are immediately there, if we have moments where we have pressure from our opponents then it is also a key moment. Our supporters must be behind us in a difficult moment with very positive energy because my players feel everything on the pitch immediately. It is really helpful for my players; be positive, keep going and we will have the parties I have spoken about. We can make our home games big parties and go together.”

Midweek results went the Owls’ way with all three relegation-threatened sides losing without scoring a goal. Stoke were one of those, going down 3-0 and Swansea City. With just four points separating 22nd-placed Wednesday from QPR in 16th, the last four rounds of fixtures could realistically see any two of eight sides join Rotherham United in League Two next season.

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Röhl is confident his side can get the job done and finish outside the top three having been locked in the relegation zone since August.

“The race is so close at the moment it is unbelievable,” he said. “You see the results, the teams around us. Everybody is fighting. We have to be strong and have the right mindset. I am convinced in the balance of my team, we have the balance of young players and experienced ones, we help each other. It is important we run for each other and if we do this then our chance is big, big, big, big.”