Sheffield Wednesday: Owls must give more, says Reda

Reda Johnson beats Bournemouth captain and centre half Tommy Elphick
Reda Johnson beats Bournemouth captain and centre half Tommy Elphick
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Owls captain Reda Johnson believes that the players must not feel sorry for themselves after the setback against Bournemouth.

The skipper admitted after a dismal 2-1 defeat that that “everything went wrong” but now he detects a mood of determination in the squad to recapture the form seen in the wins against Watford and Leicester.

“It’s no time for crying,” he said. “I can tell you all the players know the position we’re in. We’re all frustrated. But the most important thing is to stay together and try to change things.

“We have no time to be disappointed: we have many games coming up, starting at Blackburn on Boxing Day, and have had a lot this month.

“Be we have to keep going, and players have to try to give more.”

Johnson found it hard to explain last Saturday’s display by the team: “We had a very bad first half. We were 2-0 down. It is hard to come back from that against a team who defended very well.

“A week earlier we were all happy (after the 1-0 win at Watford). We didn’t think we would be losing 2-1 to Bournemouth. It was a big surprise when we went two down.”

The players took part in post-match inquest: “What was said in the dressing room stays there,” said the skipper.

“I don’t think there is one Bournemouth player who has more quality than we have in our dressing room, but if you take their team, they were a better 11 than us.

“We cannot focus on one player. We beat Watford not because Connor Wickham scored a free kick; we defended well and kept a clean sheet; even if Connor scored we would have lost if we had conceded goals.”

The skipper says players have not been affected by the uncertainty over the managerial position, with a full appointment yet to be made. Caretaker boss Stuart Gray is due to stay in charge over Christmas but his longer-term claim was not helped by Saturday’s game.

Johnson regards it as normal in football that the manager takes praise when a team succeed but questions are asked when they lose: “That happened with Dave Jones. Now the caretaker is Stuart. In four games he won two, he proved that he has done well. But the most important thing, like he says, is the players.”

Johnson also welcomed Jacques Maghoma’s first goal for the club: “I’m very pleased. He’s a very good lad. He works hard on the pitch. It’s good for him - his first goal in the Championship. I hope more will come.”

Meanwhile, Roy Keane has confirmed that he will not be the new manager at Hillsborough.

It follows Milan Mandaric’s denial of a claim a fortnight ago that he intended to ask the Irish FA for permission to speak to the Republic of Ireland manager.

The Wednesday chairman dismissed the Sunday-newspaper story at the time, telling The Star that Keane was not on the shortlist.

Mandaric was also fully aware that Keane had only recently been appointed by Martin O’Neill as his assistant.

Keane has confirmed: “I’m staying. We have started something and plan to see it out. In any case, there has been no call made to me. I am in this position now and am happy here and we want to complete the job.”

O’Neill and Keane discussed the subject when it first arose.

Said O’Neill: “It wasn’t as if we spent hours and hours going over the subject, but Roy assured me if a call was made from Sheffield Wednesday I’d be the first to know.

“Of course he wants to get back into management and put the whole Ipswich debacle out of his system. I would be wildly disappointed if he didn’t.

“But this is a great chance for him here and the reported interest from Sheffield Wednesday is not something for me to be overly concerned about.”