Xisco: Sheffield Wednesday from lions to mice, 5% ‘don’t have the level’ and Leeds United ‘better’

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Sheffield Wednesday manager, Xisco, says that they may have been lions in the League One, but they’re now mice as they prepare to face Leeds United in the Championship.

The Spaniard has had a difficult start to life at Hillsborough since his arrival as replacement for Darren Moore, and after six competitive fixtures his side are yet to win a game over 90 minutes – their only victory coming via penalties against Stockport County.

On Saturday they make the trip to Elland Road to face promotion-chasing Leeds United, and they are desperate to pick up their first point of the season after losing four league games on the spin for the first time since March 2021.

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In an eye-opening post-match press conference after losing to Mansfield Town in the Carabao Cup Xisco spoke about the challenge at Leeds, his life overcoming knockbacks, and how a portion of his side ‘don’t have the level’ to be part of things at S6 now.

“One of the most important things that we need to understand is that we are not the lion, we are the mouse – and sometimes we are thinking we are the lion on the pitch. Last season in League One maybe you are the lion, but here you are the mouse – from the first minute to the last. If you relax then the lion will eat the mouse, and this is the situation. Sometimes the team has 65 or 75 minutes at a good level, but is then out for 10 minutes – if you give 10 minutes out then it’s difficult, and this is something we need to change…

“If you know about me, then tomorrow is a new day and a new chance. It doesn’t matter how many times you push me, or how many times you kick me in my face, every day I’ll get up. This is my life, all my life has been like that. And this is football. I’m the first for the responsibility, and tomorrow I’ll try to give my best and change these problems.

“I am sad for them, because 95% of the players are improving every day, and this is improving – that is something that’s important for me… The other 5% don’t have the level to play with us.”

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He went on to say, “It’s a big challenge (against Leeds). Are they a better team than us? They are a better team than us. But 100% we go there to try and get three points – firstly because we need them, and secondly because the players are working very hard and surely one day the situation is coming back.”

Wednesday face Leeds at 3pm on Saturday afternoon in their fifth game of the Championship season, and need to try and get on the board before the international break gives fans more time to stew over their beleaguered start to the campaign.

Before then, though, there’s the small matter of the closing of the transfer window, and Wednesday are working to try and get a few more faces through the door before it closes on Friday evening.

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