DAVE Jones likens Wednesday to a diamond: the more you polish it, the brighter it becomes.
It has certainly been a sparkling start to the new manager’s reign: six points from the two games for which he has been fully in charge.
The seven-goal haul from the contests with Bury and Bournemouth is bigger than that of the previous seven league matches put together.
Perfection was not achieved on Saturday and that is why Jones will continue to do his polishing.
But there are no complaints from him about the way the team are grafting and responding to his tweaking of their style of play.
The imperfection of the victory over Bournemouth was the anti-climax that followed a fantastic start.
But lest there be any grumbles about the way it stuck at 3-0 for 80 minutes let us not forget that there have been occasions in recent years when the team have lost their way after taking a commanding lead and condemned themselves and their fans to a
nervous, panicky finale. That never happened on Saturday.
Even though Bournemouth ended up making more chances than the Owls, I never had a feeling that they were seriously going to get back in the game.
And if the Cherries had finished properly for once, it seems very likely that Wednesday would have responded by upping their game and might very well have gone on to get the further goals for which the crowd hoped.
Jones knew the performance as a whole was not flawless and he thinks it will take time for the team to adjust fully to his ideas and methods. He also knows how much the fans crave brilliant success: “We were 3-0 up and somebody shouted ‘sort it out’,” he said afterwards.
But Bournenouth were well and truly sorted out in that first 10 minutes, though they did make one of their opportunites when it was 1-0.
The first goal was only the second of Danny Batth’s Hillsborough stay, rammed into the roof of the net after ace wing play by Michail Antonio: after a Chris Lines corner was half-cleared to him, he beat his full-back and played the ball in low to Batth’s feet.
The second one caused some confusion about whose it was,
and it was not easy to tell from the press box.
But TV has confirmed that Julian Bennett challenged for Chris Lines’ corner, the ball was going across goal but hit centre-half Miles Addison, bounced towards the goal and was hooked from the goalmouth on to the bar - but with the ball having already crossed the line, the linesman evidently ruled. So it was an Addison own goal.
The third goal a minute later was absolutely emphatic. Antonio burst into space on the right side of the box to smash a shot into the roof of the net.
He needs only another three goals this season to achieve the target he has set for himself, having also grabbed
two against Bury last week.
The Reading wide man also wants to average 10 crosses per game: he managed only four on Saturday. But when one of those makes a goal and he’s scores a splendid one himself, he is maintaining his pleasing impact on the scene.
Jones feels that his own his influence will grow as time passes; that he and coach Terry Burton - who was kept out of the dug-out by illness on Saturday - are trying to instil things into the players that will take a bit of time to perfect, but that the squad are listening and working hard to try to put them into practice.
Hence his comment: “My old boss used to have a saying: ‘It’s like a diamond. The more you polish one and it hasn’t got a flaw, the better it is’.”
Jones also said: “I can’t fault the players for what they are trying to do. It just went a bit flicky-tricky rather than us keeping the ball and making Bournemouth work harder.
“It’s the third game in seven days and that’s a big pitch on which to keep covering the ground. I’ve got nothing but admiration for them; everything we have asked of them, they are trying to do; it might be in the wrong areas at times, but they are trying.”
Jones also feels it
is a learning curve for him as he gets to know the division and his players better, and he is looking forward to a full week on the training ground this week without a midweek match to distract from honing the cohesive yet penetrative style of play that he favours.
“The players are brilliant,” he said. “They want to come in every
day. They want to do things. They want to make sure it’s all right. I’ve had nothing but a fantastic response from everybody in the club.”
Jones also acknowledged that Bournemouth recovered their composure after that start: “But at 3-0 the game was over as long as we didn’t do anything stupid. Stephen made one or two saves but we should have scored the fourth; we had some good interlink play, things which nearly came off.
“We set off like a house on fire. We’ve all been there; we’ve all tried to take the foot off the gas and play a bit of classy football. It backfires on you. There’s a lesson to be learned even after a good win.”
Bournemouth manager Lee Bradbury felt his team may have been overawed at first: “As a team we were immature for the first 10-15 minutes; that’s a massive part of it when you come to a big club like Wednesday with the crowd behind them.
“You need to be able to deal with that; we didn’t in the first 10-15 minutes.”