Sheffield Wednesday column: How Jos Luhukay has shown Owls players who’s in charge

Sometimes, it takes the darkest hour for a man to reveal his true self.

Jos Luhukay was shocked by what he witnessed as Sheffield Wednesday surrendered against Brentford on Sunday August 19. The Championship clash ended 2-0 to the Bees but 5-0 would have been a more accurate reflection on the no-show of Griffin Park.

Jos Luhukay

Jos Luhukay

Afterwards, the manager jesttisoned his usual reserve and did nothing to hide his disgust. His team had offered "zero", he said. "Nothing".

But it was the words he uttered two days later that could go a long way to defining his reign as Hillsborough boss.

Luhukay gathered his squad together on the following Tuesday, on the eve of the home match with Millwall. One point from the opening three matches was on his mind, but not as much as that West London embarrassment.

The players suffered a hitherto unseen side to the Dutchman whose anger fuelled a new-found fluency in his second language. 'Not acceptable,' was the message. 'You give everything or you're out.'

The man in charge

The man in charge

With youngsters promoted and established stars dropped, Wednesday beat Millwall 2-1 with a display full of fire and endeavour. They followed that up with victory four days later against Ipswich Town. The performance this time wasn't as good but the attitude was the same.

Luhukay's new Owls were up and running.

Details of that Tuesday showdown emerged only this week. Ash Baker knew he had to pick his words carefully but left nobody in any doubt about what had gone on. "All I will say is he does what he needs to do," the young right-back said with a quiet, rueful smile.

Baker was addressing the media at Wednesday's Middlewood training HQ ahead of the Carabao Cup tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Minutes later, it was the manager's turn and he reasserted his authority with his most impassioned press conference since his arrival in January.

"You must always work hard. If you don't have that, you cannot be winning games," he said. "You can win when you work to the last minute for the result. That is what I expect from the players. Who does that, can play. Who does not, sits outside.

"In football, you can lose a game. But the way you lose a game can make you not happy. I go hard at the players but I do it not for me. I will have success with my team, Sheffield Wednesday, and I must make decisions when my players don't do 100 per cent what we must do."

Successive wins have seen his team climb the table. Tuesday's knockout exit with a shadow side against Premier League Wolves was an irrelevance. There is real hope the league revival with continue at Reading on Saturday.

There are many big names at Wednesday, many big characters, some of whom find themselves on the bench or out of the squad.

Luhukay, just when he needed to, has shown there is only one boss.

Effort, commitment, desire. That is what players must show to earn the shirt.

Who does not, sits outside.

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