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Jose Semedo - Win The Day Part 1

In four and half years with the club, Jose Semedo, has firmly cast his name in Wednesday history. Much like Lee Bullen before him, his affection for the club is no secret and the respect given back from the supporters is more than obvious. His role in the promotion season of 2011/12 was nothing short of remarkable; taking the PFA fans player of the year in League One was no mean feat and certainly something which was richly deserved. A no nonsense footballer who wants what the fans do, plays with his heart on the sleeve and leaves no stone unturned in every game. This determination was born out of as many hours away from the pitch as on it, working with his best friend who everyone who has even the smallest of passing interests in the beautiful game has heard of, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The will to succeed was established alongside the Real Madrid and Portugal footballing megastar in their youth and now Semedo has put pen to paper along with renowned sports psychologist, Sam Kotadia, to tell the story of the sacrifices he has made, physically and just as importantly mentally, to in his words ‘give something of value back’ in the book, Win The Day, which is available now.

“This is what we used to do (Ronaldo and I), go outside after watching games on TV at 10.30 at night, play against each other one versus one on a small pitch there. We would put some weights on his legs and he would try to get past me with skill and it was my job to stop him scoring the goal, we had no goalkeeper there, it was just about him trying to get past me and that was the only way he could score. We used to go to the gym together, it was about me and him trying to be the best that we can be.” Semedo said.

There it is right there the crux of everything, ‘be the best we can be,’ a phrase used often by Semedo throughout our chat. It’s the mantra that he tries to instill in all aspects of his daily routine and through his messages he tries to help all around him attain the same but he’s always willing to take on board words of wisdom from all around.

“It doesn’t matter who gives you advice, you should take the value from it. It could be someone who knows a lot about the world or someone who works in McDonald’s or someone who works in your local shop, they all give you the same value. This is why I wanted to share with the fans and give something back to them.”

Not labouring on the negative but focusing on the positive and taking that value that Semedo speaks of is something we’d all love to do, but it’s something that is far from easy and out on the football field it can be magnified under the glaring, opinionated eye of managers and fans alike.

“I remember when we had Jermaine Johnson here, and I know he was the one who could win us any game and in one particular match I remember he wasn’t playing well and I could see he was starting to lose himself a little and made a few mistakes. I could see that JJ wasn’t able to let go of the misplaced pass or cross in his head so at half time I spoke with him. The team needed him to be at his best to win that game, I spoke with him and said he should forget about what happened before in the game and enjoy the second half. I told him, ‘You are a Premier League player, playing in League One and you can win us this game,’ and we were all so pleased he did that in the end.”

It’s not about Semedo being bigger than the coach; it’s not about him being bigger than anyone else. It’s his infectious, positive nature and will to win that shines through and he just wants everyone to achieve what they are capable of and he puts much of that down to his mindfulness in all situations.

“This is the kind of discipline this type of sports psychology has given me. It doesn’t mean I will play in the Premier League or be the best player but it has helped me in the big moments I’ve had in my career to never give up. When you start to fall down, you don’t fall down completely and it’s quicker to recover. When you have a bad game, a player can be down about it for one or two weeks and they then can have a bad run of form, but using these methods has helped me to get over when I haven’t had the best of games to then recover quicker and move on.

“Some people become professional footballers because they are born with a big talent, while others become footballers because of their work ethic and if they can combine that work ethic with mental strength, they will have a longer career and I truly believe it’s because of that combination I think that is why I have got to where I am in my career.


“I believe being positive like this over a longer period will make people better footballers and better people in the future. We trained with the under 21’s and the manager put first team players against the under 21’s and the first team were dominating the game. So I asked if I could play with the under 21’s to see if I can help them become better and believe in themselves a little more. He swapped one of them, with myself going into their team and all I kept doing even if they did a bad pass was, ‘well done and the next one will be better,’ and you could start to see them step up and soon we were matching the first team. And after when training had finished the under 21 manager, Neil Thompson came to speak to me in the gym as I was doing some injury prevention work and he said he changed things around to see how the younger players would react and it was like they didn’t feel alone anymore.

“For me this shows that having mental strength, discipline and having the right work ethic every day is possible to do. There is a time that you will break down a little bit or have something negative but you have to accept that these things happen and once you can do that, then you recover quicker.”


Obviously in football as in life, we all experience the whole gamut of emotions from pain and disappointment to elation and management of those feelings is vital according to Jose’s Sports Psychologist, Sam Kotadia.

“We all experience pain, but with the right mental discipline and coaching you can come to accept the pain and almost come to value it as part of the beautiful fabric of life. Yes, it’s easier said than done but with training as Jose has said, you then come out of those feelings quicker. When something bad happens, it’s so easy to get yourself into a cycle of fighting it. Suddenly one negative day turns into two days and then two days turns into a week and maybe two weeks of it being in your head then it can damage your ability to do your play your game or do your job.”

According to Semedo, sometimes he feels that even what many would see as the most normal of things has it’s own value and it should be appreciated for what it is.

“Take this coffee in my hand, if I had a bad day training and it was in my head and I was still thinking about it then I can’t enjoy the coffee that I wanted. You don’t leave the situation and you’re attached to the negativity, it’s about accepting the pain and releasing the negativity.”

SAM: “As long as you accept there is some negativity you can still do your job well, it’s a weird paradox but it as all about moving from experience to experience without jumping onto things. Imagine a motorway, you’ve got some nice Aston Martin’s in one lane, then some old bangers in the other lane. The Aston would be the positive thought, the old banger would be the negative so your brain wants to jump on the Aston Martin and keep that close, whilst we see the old banger you just want to get it out of your mind. And it’s that attachment to our experiences that breaks the flow, the positive can be just as damaging as the negative. Your mind can go and live in the euphoria and fantasy of how good things feel and it’s amazing but suddenly a few things go wrong and you haven’t got the resourcefulness to deal with it. So it’s not attaching, if something negative comes yeah it doesn’t feel great but let it go, if something positive comes in enjoy it appreciate it but don’t dwell on that too.

SAM: That time after a bad game or training session, that’s where the work is. If something bad happens you go into the routine of playing it over in your mind, the work is finding the inner strength to continue to do the things that are healthy for you. That’s when you might think you’d skip the odd gym session or you might not engage with people around you because you’re in your own head, and that critical period of time builds up it’s own momentum. I’ve seen player’s careers ended from those small seeds.”

While it’s easy to hear these things and dismiss these things out of hand if you’re not in that environment, getting into a similar situation from a football perspective was something that Semedo was keen to show an example of.

“There are a lot of examples, but when we played Bournemouth three years ago. I remember talking with Miguel Llera who was due to be playing that day and we were talking about we would do after the game, go to my house, prepare some food and have some time with friends. We both said, ‘we’re going to win today and then we can enjoy what happens after.’

“Then in the game, I didn’t play well and Miguel didn’t play well either and we lose the game and that’s because our mind was already on what we were going to do after we’d won. This is the danger of thinking it’s already done, it’s so tricky that in your mind because you’re not there in the moment. If you’re in the nightclub it’s almost impossible to not have a good time because of the lights, the music, your friends being there, you have a drink and it’s because you’re in the right place for all of that. The music is so loud that it doesn’t allow the mind to think anything else.

“In a game of football if you thinking I’ve won already it makes it a tricky game, if you go with a sense of responsibility that it is a big occasion no matter who you are playing then you’re in the moment and trying to keep yourself in that moment and that is when you get the best out of yourself.”


The friendship between Semedo and Ronaldo is something that is repeatedly brought up and in recent weeks of course we have seen the pair of them on the red carpet in London, and while naysayers some may dispute the relationship between the pair, the connection between the two is definitely there.

“I know I am happy that every single day I give my very best in training and even there I win more than I lose. It doesn’t matter if it’s five a side games, possession, winning games in training I do all I can to win more than I lose. And this is why one thing that Ronaldo said to me is one of the proudest moments for me.

“We were spending some time relaxing,
(I did ask if that meant dancing on a boat in the middle of the Med!) Ronaldo said to me, “Semi there were about 50 or 60 players in our generation of youngsters at Sporting Lisbon, only you and me made it. While I had a chance to make it with the different qualities I have but even though some would say you are less gifted but the way you are is what made you what you are and I’m so proud of you.”

“I never expected to hear that from him and to hear that from him was something that made me realise football is not about the Premier League, it’s not about the Champions League. It’s the best sport in the world. You can send a message to all over the world, there are values across all leagues. There are values in League One, League Two, any game at any level you get the winning and the sadness and no matter where I will be I will always try to win every single day.”


To get hold of a copy of Jose's book, go to www.wintheday.co.uk or of course, you can go to the SWFC Megastore where it's on the shelves.

We can't thank Jose enough for inviting us to have a chat with him and watch out for Part TWO of the Owlsonline EXCLUSIVE chat with Jose about his book 'Win The Day', his life, and of course Sheffield Wednesday coming soon here ONLY on Owlsonline.com

Read part 2 Here.......

In the meantime come and chat with us on the forum which you can find by clicking HERE....
Unread article 23/11/2015 at 14:40

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