I remember Gary Megson suggesting that nobody can stop your team being good at talking and good at running, and he was right. Megson also suggested that if players showed honesty and gave it a right good go, then the fans would respond positively, and he’s probably right with that as well. However, having honesty and giving it everything you’ve got should come naturally.
I’ve spoken recently about the players being nervous, about the lack of belief, and it is a genuine problem at Sheffield Wednesday. However, there have been concerns multiple times this season when it comes to the effort and desire of the players, and their willingness to give everything for the shirt. It’s not just the fans who have spoken of their concerns, manager Garry Monk has too, and this must change starting at Birmingham this weekend.
After a run of five defeats in six games, with only a draw picked up during their dismal run after a draw away at Blackburn, Birmingham City and Pep Clotet are now unbeaten in seven league outings, winning on four occasions. They’ve beaten Luton, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Barnsley, with the victories over third-placed Forest and sixth-placed Bristol City at the time, the pick of the bunch.
Pep Clotet’s men also managed draws against Cardiff and Boro, with their most recent outing seeing them take a point off a high-flying Brentford side. Birmingham are currently fourteenth in the league, even after this impressive run of form, but one thing they’ve proven they’re capable of is grinding out results. Birmingham under Clotet’s guidance also showed they have heart and the fight, as they have overcome a couple of bad runs of form already this season.
In my opinion, this is where the game can be won or lost. Wednesday must go there with honesty, fight and determination. The players may lack confidence right now, especially during this bad run of form, but it doesn’t stop you running, and it doesn’t stop you giving your all for the shirt. We’ll be backed by a sold-out away allocation as always, and if we go there with the mentality of having nothing to lose, and tear into them, we could flatten the Birmingham crowd and use our magnificent away following to our advantage.
I believe both squads are similar in terms of quality, with each team having a few players who could make a significant impact. But we can’t rely on individuals to come up trumps. We’ve got to put in a good shift as a team, where every player comes off the pitch at full time knowing they couldn’t have given any more for the cause.
If players win their individual battles, the team will benefit as a result. If we win as many first and second balls as possible, the team will be much better off. It’s time for the players to step up, be brave, and show everyone how much they want it. Too many times over the last several seasons there have been concerns over the commitment of players. These standards should never be acceptable at any football club, least of all at Sheffield Wednesday.