Michael Hector on how losing helped Sheffield Wednesday find a winning formula this season
Sheffield Wednesday have found a winning formula under Steve Bruce according to Owls Player of the Year Michael Hector.
It's taken a topsy-turvy season of results – and a change of manager – for the blue and white wizards to nail down a system that works, but Hector says they’re back on track as the campaign draws to a close.
The Owls have one more challenge in the 2018/19 season as they take on QPR in Sunday’s season finale at Hillsborough, with the prize of a ninth place finish on the cards should results fall kindly for Wednesday.
Rangers are currently 19th in the Championship after a difficult season at Loftus Road that has left them without a permanent manager and hovering eight points above the relegation zone.
Since Steve McClaren’s sacking the Hoops have been under the guidance of John Eustace, who has only been able to add one win to their points tally in the last six games.
Wednesday will enter the game with confidence after coming from behind to steal a point in the 3-3 draw against Preston North End last week, after another impressive performance from star defender Hector.
The Chelsea loanee, who scooped Wednesday’s best player gong for this season, says the team have finally found a recipe for success after a tough first half of the campaign.
“For me, I came here to play games and that’s why they wanted me in the first place, to play games,” he said.
“The first manager he brought me in and I was in and out of the team a bit and so we wanted to find a formula to get results, which is fair enough to change a losing team.
“Since Christmas we have done really well as a team and have been really solid and it has been good to be a part of that and part of the clean sheets and wins.
“The team has come together after the blip of the start of the season and I think key members have come back into the team.
“No disrespect to the younger players but the players coming in are top players in this league and it shows with the performance and the personality that has come into the changing room.
“It is something that you need in the changing room and it is only going to help when big characters like Westy, Hutch and Boydy come in with their characters and have played at the top level week-in, week-out.
“It’s only going to help Jordan [Thorniley], Ash [Baker], Matt Penney who have come in and played a few games this season further their careers because they have all had tough periods where they have played well and not so well.
“You can see them even in training they are a bit more confident then when I first came in.
“You can see it with Cammy [Dawson] playing in goal - he’s a different guy now because he has played that number of games, he is more confident in himself and game time does help someone develop his career.”
And character is one thing Steve Bruce has brought to the changing room in abundance if last weekend’s half-time team talk is any measure – Preston chief Alex Neil said the Owls manager could be heard from the next dressing room with the scoreline at 2-0 to the home side.
It spurred a response from Bruce’s players to grab a point though, as Wednesday look to leapfrog Swansea City and bag a 9th place finish in 2018/19, which Hector says has been one of his best in his career so far.
“In Germany we got to the cup final so that was really special for me, but this has been one of my better seasons,” Hector said.
“Performance-wise I think it is one of my best consistently throughout the season.
“You need to be consistent and that is what I have been lacking the last few seasons but this season it just seemed to come together. I have been working hard off the pitch and it’s coming to light on the pitch.
“I was given a chance after last season when I didn’t play as well as I should have and this season I’ve had a run of games and it’s been good.
“Every away trip it is always a sell out, they travel in numbers and home games are special so it has been a special time in my career.”
“I have enjoyed my time here in Sheffield so hopefully something gets sorted.”