Sheffield Wednesday: Everything Steve Agnew said in his press conference before the FA Cup match at Chelsea

Steve Agnew spoke to the media earlier today ahead of Sunday’s trip to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Here’s everything Steve Agnew had to say…

Owls caretaker Manager Steve Agnew. Pic Steve Ellis.

Owls caretaker Manager Steve Agnew. Pic Steve Ellis.

On injuries

“Everybody is more or less fit apart from the longer-term ones. Matt Penney has had a shoulder operation. Josh Onomah will come back next week so he is not available for the weekend but everyone else is fit and ready. Fernando has had a good week's training, he will travel with us and be in the squad.”


"I think he will be mid-April. He has had a shoulder problem which he has had to have an operation on. He's a very, very talented young player. We wish him well but I'm sure he will be back towards the end of the season. 

"We have watched videos of games that he played earlier in the season and he's a real talent.”

Onomah sooner than expected

"It is sooner because he had scans at Tottenham and they wanted to make sure everything was back to normal. Tottenham are happy with his progress and will send him back up on Monday morning.”

Is there are a chance one of the forwards could go out on loan

"I don't think we have really discussed any incomings or outgoings with the players. I have just come in and worked with Stephen Clemence and Lee Bullen just to coach and organise the team and to hopefully get results. 

"That's Steve and the chairman's remit. I'm sure they are having conversations regarding all that. I genuinely think that out focus as coaches can be taken away if we start getting involved with too much of that. Our focus remains with the players that we have and we have the ability to improve performances and results.”

Selection for Chelsea

"We have a really strong squad and because the injured players are almost fully fit then we have plenty of choice and it is a good headache to have.”

Sam Hutchinson

"I have been very impressed with Sam. He is a terrific professional. He has had injuries in the past. He looks after himself, he's fit he plays a deep lying role for the team. He's aggressive. He's determined and I've been really, really pleased with his performances.”

Deep-lying midfield role the way forward

"We will play different formations in different game. We just try to put round pegs in round holes.

"Moving forward and looking at the opposition, I'm sure there might be a reason to play a deep-lying midfielder. There might be other games where we need to play a flat midfield and a number 10. It depends on the opposition.”

Defensive solidity 

"Absolutely. When we came in and Lee took the team before over the Christmas period, the one thing that was obvious is the team were conceding too many goals.

"Any team that has success is based on a strong shape to the team and being organised and that is what we have tried to continue. 

"What we would like to now and will continue to do is work on the attacking side of the game to give players ideas of movements to create chances and score goals. I did feel against Wigan that we had opportunities to finish the game and could have gone two or three nil.

"We have seen improvement on the training ground and in last week's game against Wigan so let's hope we can score a few goals against Chelsea.”

On the tie...

"Traditionally, Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday are two massive clubs. Chelsea have gone to be unbelievably successful in recent years and Sheffield Wednesday have been out of the Premier League for a while.

"It's a fantastic football fixture for all involved. It's the FA Cup so we are all really really looking forward to the tie as are 6,000 Sheffield Wednesday supporters.”

Underdogs tag

"The one success we had with Hull was getting to an FA Cup final and playing Arsenal. We were underdogs that day and we were two nil up. We lost in extra-time but we ran Arsenal very close so that was my experience as a coach.

"Cup upsets happen every year. Of course you need the bounce of the ball and a little bit of luck on the day. But the players have been terrific all week and there is an excitement around the training ground. There is a real buzz about the players and they are all looking forward to it.”

Mindset change

"The Luton games were very difficult. They had not been beaten at Kenilworth Road for almost a year and were second in League One and are a very, very good team so we had to overcome that.

"It was a really tough tie at Luton and the players showed an unbelievable spirit. 

"I think going into the Chelsea game they, of course, have many talented players as we saw against Tottenham. They will probably make changes because their squad is so strong.

"It is the challenge of playing against the best players in the world for our players and I just feel they are ready to take the challenge on.”


"You would think so if they were going to play the same players but I would have thought they would be fresh. I don't know what Sarri's team is going to be but he has got many, many players and top internationals that he can call upon to freshen the team up.

"Is it an advantage because we haven't had a game? It depends on the changes to the Chelsea team but all I do know is our players are fresh, fit and ready.”

Nothing to lose?

"Absolutely. We have tried to give the players some forward thinking positive ideas to the weaknesses that we feel Chelsea have.

"But also we have to be realistic. They have top, top players and many threats in different areas of the pitch.

"We will have to be organised and, more than anything, we will have to show good concentration.

"But on the turnover of the ball, we have got some talented players and I'm sure we can give Chelsea one or two problems.

"Sheffield Wednesday is an amazing football club with a fantastic fan base. There will be great support and they will be very, very vocal on Sunday evening.

"It's live on BBC and it's the exposure that Sheffield Wednesday need. It is a reminder to the whole football world how big this football club is. We would like to be playing the likes of Chelsea every week.

“Maybe it'll be a reminder to the rest of the football world that Sheffield Wednesday are playing in a huge game. We will play on the front foot; we will be organised. We will need a little bit of luck against one of the best teams in Europe.

Looking forward to handing the reins back to Steve Bruce?

"Yeah, I am actually. It has been hectic. I have really enjoyed it. With the help of Stephen Clemence, who has been terrific, and Lee Bullen, I have enjoyed it.  We had a little bit of a blip at Hull but apart from that the players have been terrific.

"Steve is chomping at the bit. He will be here towards the end of next week and will be in place for the Ipswich game.

"Steve is an experienced manager and a very, very good manager. He is a great guy to work for but he allows us as coaches to get on with our jobs and coach the team. We have accelerated our relationship with the players because of the time we've been here.

"Hopefully when Steve comes in, he will put his stamp on how he wants to improve it and we can continue to enjoy what we are doing and hopefully the results will follow.

Hopefully he will bring a few nuggets back from Barbados

"Steve did have a really difficult time last year and we all respect his privacy and the difficulty that both Steve and his family had in the past year.

"He has gone there to watch the England cricket team. Obviously, it has not been great to watch in the last couple of days. 

"He has spent time with the coaches and the players in the nets and seen what they do and how they do it.

"It's a different sport but he is always looking to see how to deal with certain situations.

He's excited to get back in

"I can hear in his voice that he's fresh, ready and prepared. He knows what is going on with the contact that we have had with him.

"He's chomping at the bit and I'm sure you'll see in his press conference whenever it is next week that he will come across in a way that Steve Bruce is excited and ready to take the challenge on. 

Michael Hector blow

"It is a loss because Michael has done terrifically well both in that midfield area that he played at Luton and at centre-back. I have been really impressed with him.

"But as always in football, when one player misses out for whatever reason, it gives somebody else an opportunity.

"I have seen players that play in that position in training this week who have been very competitive and would like to play in the Chelsea game.

Jordan Thorniley

"He has done well has Jordan. He's a young, talented central defender who can play at left-back. He is committed, determined and strong. He was part of a team that kept a clean sheet at Luton so he comes into our thoughts.

Decision on the goalkeeper

"No, not yet. We will have a meeting with the rest of the coaches. 

"We have an idea of what the team will be but in terms of the final selection that has not been done yet.”

Middlesbrough inspiration

"I was part of the coaching team at the Etihad. We played well actually and won the game. 

"We see character, spirit and resilience every day and we believe they are more than capable of putting in a performance. We have the quality with the players to create chances and score goals.

"It's a really exciting fixture for everyone connected with Sheffield Wednesday football club. It is live on TV so there will be plenty of viewers I would have thought.

"There will be an excitement amongst the 6,000 Sheffield Wednesday fans, who I'm sure will be very vocal throughout the 90 minutes.”

Positive result

"If we get a positive result at Stamford Bridge, it would be a fantastic achievement in that game but I think it will filter through to the rest of the season amongst the staff and players.

"It would certainly put Steve Bruce in a good mood coming in next week.

Spoken to Steve about selection

"A little bit. Steve is a top, top manager but I think he trusts both myself, Stephen and Lee to do the job. Although he will have his ideas on players, formations and tactics, he will give us his trust in terms of the final selection.

Bruce will have a chance of seeing the game with how the England cricket team have performed

"It has not been great. Let's hope we can turn it around.

"Whatever happens, I'm sure Steve Bruce will be watching the game.”

Pick up tips from other sports

"Steve is always looking at how other sports, managers and coaches do their jobs to get successful results.

Players fully understand his reasons for not starting straight away

"Yeah, the players from the day we have walked into the bulding, there is not really been too much discussion because I think they understand Steve's privacy and his reasons (for not being here).

"But obviously, they know he's the manager and in the background they are motivated to show to us as coaches how hard they need to train and what they need to do to impress us as coaches and pass the message on Steve.

They know they will get that human touch with Steve

"He's a great guy as well as a terrific football manager. Once he comes into the building on a regular basis, I think there will be a huge lift within not just the staff but the players.