How Steve Bruce has changed Sheffield Wednesday’s style of play

Sheffield Wednesday have tweaked their style of play under new manager Steve Bruce.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 2:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 3:12 am
Barry Bannan

 That is the view of midfielder Adam Reach as the Owls prepare for an away double-header with Millwall and Rotherham United.

Bruce has picked up four points from two matches in charge since taking over the reins from caretaker chief Steve Agnew.

Barry Bannan

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"I think we are playing with a little more energy and at a faster tempo," Reach told The Star.

"We are playing with a little more confidence and we are allowed to express ourselves in the final third, which is always good."

It is early days in Bruce's Owls reign, but seven-goal star Reach is enjoying the chance to work with the four-time promotion winner.

Reach said: "It has been good. I think everyone has improved as a player.

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Adam Reach

"We are working harder. We were shown our stats recently and I think we have improved everywhere with high intensity running and that is what he wants from us.

"He always says he doesn't ask anything from us that he wouldn't expect from himself and I think everyone can see we have improved our performances."

It looks a tall order for Wednesday to gategrash the play-off positions. Bruce's team lie in 16th position and trail sixth-placed Bristol City by 11 points with 16 matches left.

But Reach believes it is not an insurmountable gap.

"Eleven points is nothing," he insisted. "We were in the play-offs at one point and now we find ourselves 16th and that's how quickly the Championship can change.

"If we win our next two games, we will see where we are."

It promises to be a vital period in the Owls' attempts to keep their faint promotion hopes alive. After facing Millwall at The Den on Tuesday evening, Wednesday then head to local rivals Rotherham this weekend.

Reach said: "They are important games. They are both struggling near the bottom of the table.

"Every game in the Championship is difficult but we will definitely be looking to take maximum points from them.

"On paper, we should beat Millwall and Rotherham. It is about making sure we do our jobs."

Bruce has called for patience, insisting it will take him time to build a team capable of competing in the upper echelons of the division.

“Back in the day when I first started (in management), you could change things instantly,” he said. “You could go and get a loan player now, for example. Now you can't. You have to wait until the summer and you have to wait until next January.

“Therein lies the difficulty. You can't just instantly put it all together like you did four, five, six years ago when there was no transfer window. It's a restriction to us so the one thing you have to have if you are going to try and rebuild something is patience. 

"I have been assured by the chairman he will give me that. Now, of course, if I get beaten every week, I'm under no illusions of what the job entails anymore. 

"But we have got a chairman that wants to achieve. His enthusiasm for this club was the main reason that I walked through the door. His enthusiasm for it when you get him one on one is quite remarkable.

“I'm here and I hope I get the time. There is a big summer coming up where we have got three to four loan players and nine or 10 out of contract. It is a big summer with a lot of decisions to be made.

“The thing first I need to do is take a good look at what we have got in terms of strength depth. We know we are a bit heavy in the forward line areas which is not healthy but I can understand why the club have gone down that route with the long-term injuries to so many strikers.”

The Wednesday boss wants to assemble a squad that can cope with the rigours of a promotion fight.

"When you get a job now, you don't usually get it when everything is hunky dory," he acknowledged. "That is not usually the remit. It is like any other challenge.

"There is a demand and expectation from a big club like this. We have got to get a team big enough to handle that expectation and be at the right end of the table.

"We shouldn't be languishing down where we are, for example. Nobody is happy with that but that's why I have got the job. I hope in 12 to 18 months time that we have got a team that is capable of getting to where we want to get to and that is the aim."

Bruce is pondering of handing a full debut to Rolando Aarons. The speedy winger impressed as a second half substitute against Reading.