Rafa wants to keep his players on their toes throughout this season and he certainly doesn’t want them to get complacent and too big for their boots and underestimate any side.
That can lead to defeats and we have already seen that in home games against Huddersfield, Wolves and Blackburn which all ended up in defeats for Newcastle when we were heavy favorites to win.
So even through we have won 16 of our 22 league games nothing is ever certain at Newcastle.
Carlos Carvalhal – talented Owls manager
Sheffield Wednesday are a very good side who were the unlucky losing finalists in the Championship play-off game last May at Wembley – losing 1-0 to Hull City.
Rafa has talked to the local press about tonight’s game and he knows the Owls will be a tough challenge for the home side:
“I have said 100 times during this season that for me it is one game at a time but every single game I can see how dangerous it could be and we need to win them, so I just concentrate on that.”
“I know that Sheffield Wednesday are a very good team, they were almost promoted last year and they were really good in the second half of the season.”
“Still we have 24 games to play, and I want to be sure the players realise it is not job done yet.”
“For sure we have to approach every game trying to get three points. In April we have seven games so a lot of points still to go and we have to keep going.”
“They are well organised.” “We were analysing them and they are well organised, they have some pace and players with ability.”
“So I think they like to play, they like to pass the ball. People think in the Championship that it’s all long balls, second balls – but no.”
“You have a lot of teams that like the possession game and other teams who like the direct approach.”
“You have to cope with that. We are doing well at the moment and hopefully we can continue doing the same, because it’s not easy.”
“Sheffield have the players, the manager and the experience to know how to give a game to any team.”
Given where we are in the league – 9 points ahead of 3rd placed Reading – it is a good ploy by Rafa to challenge his players to get better this season.
That should help mitigate any overconfidence in the ranks.
And certainly it’s still true that if any player doesn’t perform, there are other players who can come in and do just that.
We are hoping for some good if belated Christmas cheer tonight with another win.