UNDER normal circumstances, Vincent Sasso’s phone would have been inundated with text messages following his unlikely rise to goal hero status on Tuesday evening.
Unfortunately, the Sheffield Wednesday defender’s brace which downed Blackburn Rovers was not the main story on the night for many among his circle of friends back in his native France who were busy celebrating another surprise – and considerably far more feted – footballing development.
Sasso hails from Saint-Cloud in the western suburbs of Paris and while he was on cloud nine after his first two goals in English football, most of his mates were too busy hailing Paris Saint-Germain’s shock 4-0 Champions League demolition of Barcelona to notice.
For his part, the 25-year-old was just happy to provide a touch of relief to a difficult night for the Owls, who just like with Friday evening’s flattering 3-0 victory over Birmingham City, did not have it their own way at Hillsborough against Rovers.
He certainly picked an opportune moment to deliver his first goals for the Owls in Tuesday’s tense and fortuitous 2-1 Roses victory and it remains to be seen how big a contribution it proves on the final day of reckoning at the end of the season.
Both were picture-book strikes too; his first being a marvellous volley and his second being a clinical header and while the goals represented a surprise for Wednesdayites, they were not necessarily unexpected to the Owls coaching staff, with Carlos Carvalhal revealing that they had recently joked about the Frenchman’s training-ground prowess in front of goal.
Sasso, whose two-goal haul provided gloss to three accomplished performances in the heart of the Owls rearguard in the absence of Tom Lees, said: “I always see some texts. But PSG won 4-0 as well and that is why they (my friends) do not text me that much because they are singing about this game!
“I scored a goal a few weeks ago in the under-23s. I don’t know if it counts, but I scored for them and with Braga, I also scored a few goals.
“I like attacking all of the time though and even when I am defending, I try to follow the ball and contribute.
“The second one was more special because to score two is special rather than just scoring one.”
As the saying goes, the harder you work, the greater the reward, with Sasso’s professionalism, work ethic and refusal to let his head drop yielding a renaissance, after he spent large parts of the season on the periphery.
Given all that, few would begrudge him his moment, which represented a nice early birthday present ahead of turning 26 today.
On his tough year, Sasso – who signed a permanent 12-month deal with the Owls at the start of the season after spending 2015-16 at Hillsborough – added: “Football is like life. Sometimes it is not easy, but you have to work and keep believing and stay focused and at one point, it will pay off.
“Tom and Glenn (Loovens) have been doing well and I have just had to wait for my time and now all the work pays off. I am happy, but the most important thing is to win.
“It is important for my confidence. The more you play, the more you feel comfortable. The first game was my first for four months and that was difficult against Wigan.
“But with the training and then playing games in the Championship, it has been good.
“To play more games does help because the first game was hard. But after that, you get confidence and get going. I feel more comfortable after the run of games, that’s normal.
“I am happy with the goals, obviously. But the most important thing is to win as we didn’t play well. The three points is the most important.”
Despite a flawed display and a fortunate win – not for the first time this campaign, it has to be said – Sasso has enough experience of English football to acknowledge that points and not performances take pre-eminence as seasons head towards their definitive phase.
The Frenchman also believes that the last thing that Wednesday should do is be making apologies for it either, on a night when they increased their advantage over seventh-placed Norwich City to four points with a game in hand.
Sasso, who says he has not yet given much thought to his future, with his contract up in June, added: “To be honest, we did not play very well, we know that. In the last game as well, we also didn’t play well, but we won and sometimes that is the most important thing.
“Big teams can struggle, but we helped each other and we added the three points. In one week or two weeks, nobody will remember that we struggled against Blackburn. But they will remember that we got the three points.”