Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson singled out the contributions of Nottingham Forest loanee Ishmael Miller and midfielder Ruben Palazuelos after he watched his side grab a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Huish Park today. Whilst Miller's double strike will grab the headlines, Johnson felt that his new Spanish midfielder deserved praise for his full debut for the club, putting in 90 minutes against the Owls and looking calm and assured throughout.
Johnson described Miller and Palazuelous as 'gambles' after the game, but both for very different reasons. With striker Miller clearly not 100 percent fit during the match, there had been concerns during the game that his hamstring might not stand up to the task, having limped out of the club's match against Doncaster Rovers two weeks ago just ten minutes into the match. This time around, Miller lasted 71 minutes before he signalled to the bench, and by then he'd put his side two goals up. Gary told BBC Somerset after the game that made it a gamble worth taking:
"It was a gamble and you have to manage these things. We knew that Kieffer (Moore) would be out, who is our other presence as a striker. Ishmael is not going to be able to run around for 90 minutes - he's not fit enough to do that because he keeps getting these little problems. But you need him out there for those one or two opportunities that he gets. That's seven he's got now in 13 appearances, and you need someone to do that. If we manage to stay up then it will be because we've found a striker that can score in every other game, and that was going to be really important to us. We needed to find a striker that could get that sort of ratio. He's got a big booming shot with both feet. The first goal was a booming right-footed volley that hit the back of the net unbelievably. Then the second one was just a bit of class where he cut inside (Glenn) Loovens or whoever it was, and then bent it in the corner with his left foot. So they were two worthy goals, and probably worthy of the Man of the Match which he got."
Gary also felt that Palazuelos had been a 'gamble' to bring into Yeovil Town's ranks, given that the 30 year old has never played English league football. Johnson watched him play in the Scottish Premier League for Hearts though, and when he heard the Spaniard was leaving Finland side FC Honka, he felt that he was worth bringing into the club and saluted his debut as one of the best he'd seen:
"I thought that Ruben Palazuelos had a fantastic debut. That was one of the best debuts I've ever seen - it was a quiet, clever honest competitive performance. I always thought he was a very good footballer. He's a good passer and he doesn't panic, and he just looks the part. We've been waiting to get him in, and certainly it was a fantastic debut. We watched him for a couple of games, and he was recommended to us that he might be available to whichever Championship club wanted to take a bit of a chance on him. We took the chance, like we do - one of Gary's gambles - and today it paid off."
Of the overall team performance Gary pointed out that Sheffield Wednesday's own form - unbeaten away from home in three months worth of football - shouldn't be overlooked. Whilst the likes of Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Millwall all won on the day, to keep the Glovers in the bottom three he felt the club's run of results would be causing other teams some definite worries:
"It was a super win. We had a lot of commitment out there and a lot of effort. Sheffield Wednesday are on a rich vein of form themselves, but it's nice now to go five games undefeated - three draws, two wins - and with another home game coming up against Ipswich on Tuesday. It's still very tight with all the other teams getting points as well. Charlton (who didn't play) will have a little bit of a heart attack when they see the results! But we're still in there and we've even probably dragged another couple of teams slightly nearer to us as well. I'm proud of the boys as they played to the game plan, with lots of commitment and courage - that's what we've got to do, and that's what we did."
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