Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Lee Bullen hails second half fightback after scrappy win over Luton Town
It may not have been pretty, but Lee Bullen said he was ‘delighted’ with his team’s performance in turning around a patchy performance to take three points at home to Luton Town.
The Scot, who has now taken three wins from his four matches in his dry run at the vacant manager’s position, admitted the display was far from vintage, but outlined the player’s sense of determination in a scrappy second-half.
Bullen said: “Ideally you want to play winning football, slick, passing football and go and win two and three nothing, but you’re not always going to get that.
“These are the games that make the difference between the teams that become successful and those that don’t.
“When you’re not playing particularly well you dig out that 1-0 win or 2-1 victory or you dig a draw out when you’re behind and you get a point. That makes the difference.”
Kadeem Harris’ goal was enough to give the Owls the points after they were booed off at half-time by a significant section of the Hillsborough crowd. In relaxed mood, Bullen said it was important the club – top of the league overnight at least – continues on its way.
“We’ve had a tough game here and we knew it was going to be difficult,” he said.
“Fan expectation level is high and we’ve actually lost these games over the past couple of seasons, we’ve lost to Wigan, we’ve lost to Burton Albion, we’ve lost to Rotherham, where people think we should just go out and breeze the game. We had to earn the right tonight.
“That could possibly go down as one of our most important three points we get all season.”
Bullen, still the bookmaker’s favourite for the job and in the midst of an interim period stretching back over a month since the departure of Steve Bruce, explained that it was a tactical switch, not the hairdryer treatment, that paid dividends.
Adam Reach was moved further up in midfield and Wednesday pressed higher up the pitch, restricting Luton’s previous dominance on the ball. The change brought on a renewed energy and it was the home side that had the better of the second 45 minutes.
“I thought in the first half we were in and out of the game and never really got any rhythm to our play, Luton played well and caused us problems in the midfield area especially.
“We had one or two good spells in that first half but not what we really want as an overall impression.
“At half-time we tweaked our formation a little bit and it paid dividends. We got after the ball a lot more in the second half, the pressure was a lot higher, we could get closer to their players and we got our just desserts with the goal I felt.
Bullen also hailed the team’s attitude, saying it was a game they would have lost in previous seasons.
“It was a fight tonight and it was a battle,” he said, “partly because you’ve still got a bit of a hangover from the weekend.
“I fully expected a positive reaction out of the group because I know how good they are, but we still looked as though we were a little bit down in the dumps after what happened at the weekend.
“The second half was more like what we wanted. We stayed in the game in the second half and made the most of the opposrtunites we created in the second half.
“I can’t remember Keiren having to make a mistake in the second half so we were relatively comfortable, but all it takes is a slip up or a mistake and you can be punished.
“It was a very, very satisfying win without it being spectacular.”