Sheffield Wednesday 1 Burnley 2: Floro backed to blossom after nightmare Hillsborough debut

Teenage full-back Rafael Floro endured a torrid Hillsborough debut but has been backed to develop into a fans’ favourite at Sheffield Wednesday.

Wednesday's David Prutton celebrates his goal

The 19-year-old Portugese left-back joined the Owls in the summer but has been plunged straight into the first team after Dave Jones’s four first-team squad full-backs were crocked before the season kicked off.

Wednesday’s first three games have ended in 2-1 defeats, the latest coming against Burnley when first-half goals from Danny Ings and Sam Vokes secured victory.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Both goals came from crosses from Floro’s side of the pitch as Ross Wallace tormented the rookie defender.

That prompted Jones to take the teenager out of the firing line at the interval, switching Jeremy Helan into the back four and bringing on striker Chris Maguire. The changes helped the Owls in the second half and were unlucky not to add more goals than David Prutton’s bullet-header.

Team-mate Jose Semedo, who is acting as interpreter for his countryman, believes Floro will blossom given time at Hillsborough.

“He is settling in well and he is happy,” said Semedo. “He has always wanted to play in England.

“He is so happy to be at this club, too, because he always talks about the Wednesday fans because in Portugal the big clubs like Sporting Lisbon only get 15-20,000 fans but here, we are not even in the Premiership and we have more than that.

“This is crazy, this is unbelievable but I told him this is English football. He has a big future for this club.

“He is a top, top player, he was training with us last season and I am sure the club sees a big future for him.

“I am acting as the interpreter for Floro. I will help him as much as I can because when I first came to England I didn’t speak English and there was no one here who could help me.

“For him, it is a little bit easier because he can feel at home straight away.”

Despite their losing start to the campaign, Semedo – who earned a rare start under Jones after Giles Coke joined a growing Hillsborough injury list – believes there is no need to worry just yet.

“Now is not the time to panic because it’s only two league games and still a long way to go,” he said.

“We did play well, it wasn’t that we played particularly badly. It’s just small details and the results will come.

“I hope I have staked a claim to regain my place. I hope to be back in the team but, if not, I will keep working hard to do the best for this club.”

The Owls created the first opportunity after 10 minutes, Michail Antonio’s cross from the right being poked wide in front of the Kop by Jacques Maghoma.

The summer signing from Burton Albion did better with a 25-yard free-kick which was palmed away by Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal, and Prutton hammered a far-post effort into the side-netting.

At the other end, Vokes blazed high and wide after drifting in behind the Wednesday defence, and Wallace saw his 25-yard free-kick flash wide of Chris Kirkland’s right-hand post.

The Wednesday goalkeeper had to be alert to divert Vokes’s shot after the visiting striker profitted from a fortunate ricochet in the penalty area.

The strike pairing of Atdhe Nuhiu and Maghoma – both making their Hillsborough debuts along with left-back Floro and centre-half Kamil Zayatte – showed promise.

One slick move saw Nuhiu pick out Maghoma and his whipped-in cross was diverted just beyond his own goal by Danny Lafferty.

The visitors took the lead in the 33rd minute and it was a goal of simplicity. Wallace nipped in behind Floro and had oodles of time to pick out Ings, who headed in from close-range.

It soon got worse for Jones’s new-look team as Trippier supplied the ammunition and this time Vokes headed home at the far post.

Jones rescued Floro from his first-half troubles at the break, switching Helan to left-back and bringing on Maguire.

Maghoma dropped to the left flank and it was his cross which Nuhiu should have tucked away, but his looping header dropped the wrong side of Heaton’s left-hand post.

Wednesday were pushing hard for a lifeline back into the game, Antonio was denied by Heaton and several times the ball just failed to drop to an Owls player.

Finally, the hosts got the goal their second-half display merited came when Liam Palmer’s cross from the right was headed home by Prutton.

Jones is desperate to strengthen his threadbare squad, but will have to make do without striker Gary Madine, who will not play for the Owls until the conclusion of a criminal court case, which is due to start on September 2.

Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Palmer, Zayatte, Gardner, Floro (Maguire 46), Maghoma (Lavery 82), Prutton, Coke, Helan, Nuhiu, Antonio. Unused substitutes: Davies, Taylor, McCabe, Corry, Llera.

Burnley: Heaton, Wallace (Edgar 73), Jones, Lafferty, Vokes, Shackell, Stanislas (Arfield 33), Trippier, Ings, Marney, Long. Unused substitutes: Cisak, Mee, Stock, Treacy, Noble.

Referee: D Webb (County Durham).