Sheffield Wednesday: '˜The onus is now on the players to take more responsibility'
After spending nearly 20 minutes in Tom Lees' company earlier this week, it becomes crystal clear how much he is enjoying life under Owls boss Jos Luhukay.
Dutchman Luhukay, a surprise choice to replace Carlos Carvalhal on January 5, has tweaked a number of things at the Championship club, including their training methods and preparations for matches.
A groin problem meant Lees was unable to show Luhukay what he has to offer for over a month.
But since recovering from injury, the influential centre-half has played in Wednesday’s last six fixtures. Lee was on target in their Easter Monday victory over Sunderland, a result which sealed a third straight win for the first time this season.
“It has been good (working with Jos),” Lees told The Star. “Very different.
“It was difficult for me in the first couple of months he was here because I was not involved as I was injured. I was just working with the physios. I was trying to stay involved but you are not travelling to games, in the dressing room prior to kick off or training so I didn’t really know too much about how he worked until the last couple of weeks.
“I’ve come back into the team and been working with him and we’ve got some good results.
“Jos lets the players take a lot of responsibility which is something different. He leaves a lot of the decisions down to us.
“He’s very fair in his team selection. It’s done on form and on how people are playing. If you are doing well, then you hang on to your position which is good and I think it creates good competition, especially now that we have got players coming back from injury.”
The players now have a say on the team’s tactics and style of play, according to Lees.
He said: “Jos is very open in how we are going to approach games.
“We will always have a say as well on what we think, how we should play, what’s going wrong and what’s going right when we are looking at games that we have played in and past performances when we analyse it on video and stuff like that. Players are very involved in that sort of thing and there is a big onus on ourselves to take responsibility if things aren’t going well on the pitch and to change things.
“Jos is not too rigid and very open to ideas.”
Lees welcomes the change in approach.
“You have to have a clear way of doing things,” he said. “It is good that people can stand up and say ‘I think we should be doing this and doing that’ and to have that open conversation. I think it helps as well. That’s not having a dig at anyone else or saying other ways aren’t right. It’s just how it is at the club and that’s how we are operating.
“It gives players a chance to voice their opinions and be heard and I think that’s good at the end of the day because we are all men. It’s our job to get results so we have got to be happy with what we are doing.”
Things are starting to come together for Wednesday, with Luhukay’s side having won their last three matches in a row. Next up is today’s Hillsborough meeting with third-placed Fulham.
“We want to carry on this momentum and try to finish off the season well,” said Lees. “We have been playing okay and we just need to keep improving because our barometer really should be dominating, winning most games and being at the top of the table. I don’t think we can really settle on where we are the moment.”