Sheffield Wednesday: The lowdown on new Owls boss Jos Luhukay

He has spent his entire coaching career in Germany and is a serial promotion winner.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 9:34 pm
Updated Friday, 5th January 2018, 11:35 pm
New Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay with chairman Dejphon Chansiri

But what is 54-year-old Dutchman Jos Luhukay’s background?

The Star asked ESPN sports journalist Mark Lovell and Günter Klein, who works as the chief sports reporter for German daily newspaper Münchner Merkur, for the lowdown on Sheffield Wednesday’s new boss.

How is Jos Luhukay regarded in Germany?

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Günter Klein (GK): He has an average reputation. He does not belong to the group of the exciting young coaches in their 30s, but he still has a name that is mentioned when a club is searching for new input.

He has been out of football since September 2016. Why did it not work out at his last club VFB Stuttgart?

Mark Lovell (ML): Stuttgart were in disarray as a club at the time. Stuttgart had just suffered relegation and Luhukay was brought in for being an expert at winning promotion. He took over a poor side. I think he fell out with the director of football at Stuttgart, who is also no longer at the club. He had a difference of opinion and he has always walked away when he has not felt comfortable at a club. He did it at Hertha Berlin before so he’s not afraid to walk away. I don’t know whether he was fully paid up or whatever but a lot of these managers don’t have to get back to work right away.

What are Luhukay’s strengths and weaknesses as a coach?

GK: He builds clear structures inside a team. He never accepts slow pace in practise - which also can be interpreted as a weakness. When Augsburg gained promotion to the Bundesliga with Augsburg in the 2010/11 season, this was clear before the last round. But some players did not practise seriously, so he suspended them for the final match of the season. There are players who follow him from club to club - but he does not prefer them. He treats them the same way.

What is his preferred style of play?

ML: Don’t expect over expansive, attacking football. His teams have been based on solid defences. His teams are very organised.

He’s renowned for being a disciplinarian. He knows his way around the second-tier of English football. He has got promotions with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Augsburg and Hertha Berlin.

I would say he’s not renowned for out and out attacking football. He’s a safety first coach. He prides himself on clean sheets and a good defensive record.

GK: It depends on the players available. He is conservative. He is probably the only coach in recent years who orders players to man-to-man mark certain individuals of the opponents in every second of the game. For example, he did it with Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa when he was in charge of Augsburg.

How do you see him doing in English football?

GK: It is a surprise to me that he is working in England. I had expected him to join a club in Germany’s second division. It is hard to tell if he will be successful in England. I think he is a very honest guy and in Augsburg he showed more personality than Markus Weinzierl who was the coach from 2012 until 2016 and played in the Europa League.

ML: A lot of the recent coaches in the Championship haven’t had any direct experience in English football. It’s funny his name has popped up but everyone said the same thing about David Wagner when he took over at Huddersfield. Now everyone is looking to follow Wagner into the Premier League.

What will be his first priority at Wednesday?

ML: He would take a look at the team and, off the top of my head, treat it very much like Sam Allardyce does at any of his sides. He sorts out the defence first, tries to keep clean sheets and stop losing lots of goals and then go from there. That would be his first priority.

If you look through his teams over his career, he has always sorted out the defence. I would imagine that’s something he will concentrate on.