Round-up of what the papers said
MIGUEL LIERA believes Sheffield Wednesday’s Spanish connection can provide the goals to power them back to the Premier League.
The two-goal hero equalised and then scored the injury-time winner after the Owls went in at the break trailing 2-1.
Veteran centre-half Liera is now hoping he and fellow Spaniard Rodri can repay the Wednesday fans for making them feel at home in Yorkshire.
Liera said: “I did score goals in Spain, but here, when you score goals, the feeling is different because of the fans.
“I got a yellow card because it was impossible to stop myself going into the crowd.”
Wednesday led through Jermaine Johnson’s 19th-minute wonder strike, but were pegged back by first-half goals from James Henry and skipper Liam Trotter.
But the Owls roared back in the second half and equalised through Liera’s tap in on 68 minutes before snatching the win when he pounced on a rebound deep in injury-time.
Millwall could count themselves unlucky to lose as Wednesday extended their unbeaten run to 17 games.
Defender Scott Malone said: “It was a surprise to go 2-1 up, but, after the way we have played this season, we came here full of confidence.
“It would have been a great three points, or even one point, but we are playing good football and we are not a million miles away.”
DAVE Jones says there are times when he would be happy to see Wednesday grind out a boring 1-0 win. writes Paul Thompson.There seems little chance of that happening just now,
Hillsborough is the place for excitement and entertainment, lapped up by fans who must be loving almost every minute of life back in the Championship. I say almost, because the Owls are living dangerously when they keep two conceding two goals per game, but simply scoring more than the opposition is what has put them second in the table and sent the feelgood factor soaring, aided by some exhilarating football.
It is not in the make-up of Jones the entertainer simply to try to hold a lead, or be satisfied with one point after his team have clawed their way back into a game like they did on Saturday after Millwall had threatened his unbeaten record by going 2-1 up.
“I haven’t got a team that can sit back; I never had; don’t ask me why,” he says.
“I wish I could have. I like players who go forward. I just have the philosopy that the best form of defence is attack.
Hopefully it comes off more than it doesn’t. Sometimes nothing would give me greater pleasure than having a 1-0 bore. But it’s not the way we play. We haven’t got the players for it.”
Jones conceded that the Owls could have defended better on Millwall’s two goals, but goals do not come much better than the the 23-yard strike by Jermaine Johnson which opening the scoring, or more dramatic than Miguel Llera’s match-winning double, with the winner coming in the 90th minute, just like Reda Johnson’s equaliser at Derby.
“That’s the way it’s going to be: a lot ups and downs, a lot of nerves jingling and jangling, a lot of things going on,” says the manager. “It’s a real rollercoaster because we’re a work in progress and trying to do the right things. When you are like that, you’ll make mistakes.
We have a good attitude around the place. We never give up on anything. It’s difficult when you’re bringing players in from all over the place and asking them to slot in. But we’re benefiting from working hard on the training ground and listening.”
Jones made a point of praising the backroom staff: coaches Paul Wilkinson, Neil Thompson and Andy Rhodes. fitness coach Alex Armstrong and the physios and masseurs: “Everybody is working their socks off. But we’re enjoying it. The whole place is alive.”
Twenty-five-thousand fans would agree with that sentiment, and Millwall manager Kenny Jackett paid tribute to the influence of a “passionate” crowd” plus Wednesday’s “two very good wide men” and power at free-kicks.
Jones had a little dig at JJ, saying he seemed to be dampened by a torrential downour in the first half, but he added: “In the second half he and Michail Antonio got us back into it. Antonio really came into his own.”
It was the £750,000 winger’s best spell since he rejoined the club. His, running, strength and crossing began to shine; his cross led to the equaliser, forced in by Llera at the second attempt, from the rebound after Reda Johnson’s shot had hit a post.
Another ball from Antonio had made a chance for Rodri: the Spaniard volleyed off target and did similarly at 2-2 when meeting a free-kick from Rhys McCabe, another star of the show, a youngster pulling midfield strings and the supplier of the free-kick that led to the deserved 90th-minute winner.
It was fitting that Chris O’Grady should be involved in that as well. His shot was blocked, and Llera smashed home the loose ball.
Jones chose Gary Madine rather O’Grady in the starting line-up but the sub came on to make an impact.
Jones reflected: “Chris had played three games in a week. He was stretching off and was a bit stiff and sore. When we’ve got strikers, I’ll rotate them as much as I possibly can. It was just a case of when I did it.
Cog camed on and probably turned it for us. He rattled the two centre-halves and chased them down. We’d probably exhausted a lot of avenues. Chris gave us something totally different. All of a sudden things started to happen again and we kept going and going.”
Jones got what he wanted, for he had told the players at half-time that “big players, big performances” were needed to turned the game around.
Wednesday had started well enough, in similar vein after taking control against Birmimngham in midweek, but Millwall changed the game with some good football and two goals in the space of eight minutes.
After supplier Andy Keogh and scorer James Henry found room down the right to do the damage, Reda Johnson and Mark Beevers seemed to be having a discussion about who should have been picking up whom.
For the second one, Wednesday were slit open by a ball through the middle and Liam Trotter ran through to score.
But Wednesday have enough energy, skill and firepower to create faith in their ability to come back - and their pressure in the second half, roared on by the fans, was too much for Millwall.
“This place rocks. It was rocking again,” said Jones, “And when you score in the last minute it’s such a fantastic atmosphere.”