Having reached the ‘magical’ 50-point mark and with it Championship safety, Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay has revealed what he has learned so far about competing in this notoriously tough division.
Victory over Hull City at the weekend lifted something of a weight off Luhukay’s shoulders and the smiling, joking manner afterwards suggested as much.
It’s been quite a turbulent few months since the Dutchman took charge, dealing with an already lengthy injury list growing with each passing week, a squad of players containing many who had been on the fringes for most of the season and a general lack of confidence emanating from performances.
A recent upturn in form, helped considerably by the return of key men like Tom Lees, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri has allowed the pressure to subside.
That’s not something that comes about too often in the Championship, with Luhukay noticing immediately the intensity that the league brings with it.
The manager hasn’t won over every Wednesday supporter as yet.
Performances by his team, for the most part, haven’t exactly been memorable but despite Dejphon Chaniri’s insistence that the Owls were still in the play-off race at the time of the manager’s arrival, Luhukay has done what he was really brought in to do. Stave off relegation.
His record so far in 17 Championship games reads: won 5, drawn 5 lost 7.
To offer some context to that, predecessor Carlos Carvalhal’s record after his first 17 league games was: won 7, drawn 6, lost 4,
Given the problems Luhukay inherited, results-wise, he hasn’t done quite as badly as some might have you believe.
And the 54 year-old has certainly been on a steep learning curve since making a first foray into English football in January this year.
“It is a very interesting league,” said the former Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin manager.
“It is a very hard and intense league where you must fight 90 to 95 minutes to come to a good result.
“The teams and players never give up. They work very hard and intensively.
“When you are 1-0 or 2-1 up, the game is never over.
“There are a lot of teams who come back and win the game after.
“You must have a very good structure in your whole squad, not just your first eleven.
“You must be strong defensively and offensively whatever formation you play.”
And with just three games to play before this disappointing campaign finally wraps up, there’ll be no veering away from the task of picking up victories and very little in the way of experimentation as the manager looks to finish off on a high point
“We have three games to go and we want to finish as well as we can,” Luhukay added.
“We will just try to win every game.”