OWLS ON THE RIGHT RHODES
Wednesday thrash the Canaries
SHEFFFIELD Wednesday took another step towards the play-offs with an impressive 5-1 demolition job on Norwich City.
Striker Jordan Rhodes led the way with two goals, while Ross Wallace, Morgan Fox and Fernando Forestieri also got in on the act.
Wednesday lie sixth, in the final play-off position, five points above seventhplaced Fulham.
Newcastle are five points clear at the top following their controversial 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town, while second-placed Brighton slumped to a shock 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest.
DELIGHTED Carlos Carvalhal hailed Sheffield Wednesday’s thumping of Norwich City as his side’s best performance of the season.
The rampant Owls turned on the style with a Jordan Rhodes brace and goals from Ross Wallace, Morgan Fox and Fernando Forestieri securing three more crucial points.
It leaves Wednesday five ahead of nearest play-off challengers Fulham and nine clear of the Canaries, and Carvalhal added that his side’s display was aided by having plenty of preparation time.
“We had a week to prepare the team and we could prepare well as a team. The team were fresh and we gave a great display,” he said.
“I had a good expectation of the game and the players were unbelievable. They did what they needed to do.
“It was the best performance of the team this season. We have had good performances this season that may have been better, such as against Huddersfield. We added goals to our game. It was an excellent display.
“We are under pressure to win. When we score goals we play better football and things are more positive for us. The atmosphere is more comfortable.
“Norwich will not give up on the play-offs. We do not feel that we are safe yet, we will just try to win our games and see where it leaves us. You never know what can happen.”
Frustrated Norwich boss Alex Neil said his side had let the club’s fans down.
He said: “We understood the gravity of the game but we didn’t handle it. We lacked energy and intensity.
“The magnitude of the game got to us and we did not handle the game like we should have done. We struggled. The players should not be getting overawed by games like this and we talked about it after the game.
“There is an expectation level that we have struggled with at times. If you look at the goals, we made mistakes. When you do that you’re always going to find it difficult. It’s unacceptable. We looked like we were waiting for something to happen. It’s really difficult now from this point.
“All I can do is apologise to the fans who travelled here in their numbers again. I’ve let the fans down and so have the players.”
Wallace fired Wednesday ahead on 15 minutes following a blunder by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy. His fluffed clearance in the corner fell perfectly into Wallace’s path, and he shot into an empty net from 35 yards.
And it was 2-0 seven minutes later when hot-shot Rhodes beat his man to head home Forestieri’s cross.
Cameron Jerome gave the Canaries an undeserved lifeline when he poked home after Steven Naismith’s shot had been saved on 38 minutes.
But it didn’t last long as Fox restored Wednesday’s two-goal cushion with a back-post header four minutes before the break.
Sam Winnall cracked an effort just wide following a swift counter-attack by Wednesday on 51 minutes, and it was game over three minutes later when Rhodes bagged his second with another header.
Jerome fluffed a chance to give Norwich some pride back when he was beaten in a one-on-one by Keiren Westwood after he latched on to a slack backpass.
The rout was complete on 66 minutes when Forestieri hammered home a beautiful free-kick from 25 yards.
OWLS ABOUT THAT: Norwich’s John Ruddy can’t stop Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri making it 5-1, while, above, the Owls celebrate Morgan Fox’s goal
ALL OVER: Sheffield Wednesday celebrate Fernando Forestieri’s goal and, inset, Jordan Rhodes celebrates his first STAR MAN JORDAN RHODES Sheff Wed