SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY captain Glenn Loovens says his team-mates have to share the blame for the poor start to the season that cost head coach Carlos Carvalhal his job.
The Owls won just six Championship games and sat a lowly 15th in the table before Carvalhal left Hillsborough on Christmas Eve.
A lengthy injury list, poor pre-season training and a new medical team have all been blamed at some point over the last month as reasons behind the slump.
But experienced defender Loovens, 34, insists they are all just excuses and says it is down to the Owls players to “stand up and do the job which we get paid for”.
They certainly did that in the 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest in caretaker manager Lee Bullen’s first match in charge.
Asked to explain why the Owls, who reached back-to-back play-offs in the previous two seasons, have struggled this season, Dutch defender Loovens said: “It’s hard to put your finger on it, I think we have had a lot of injuries. That’s not helped.
Sometimes you have to look at yourselves as well. Did we perform as good as we can? No. Because I think we are better than where we are at the moment in the league.Glenn Loovens
“Sometimes you have to look at yourselves as well. Did we perform as good as we can? No. Because I think we are better than where we are at the moment in the league.
“It’s not always down to the manager, it’s us as players who need to stand up and do the job which we get paid for.
“If the results are not there, people look at different things. First, pre-season was not good enough, the medical department is not good enough, I can’t do anything with these kind of accusations. Sometimes as a player you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘am I doing everything right to perform on a Saturday?’
“Football is weird. Sometimes a change is needed, maybe it was the right moment for it.”
Bullen will take charge for today’s trip to Brentford and Monday’s home game with Burton Albion.
Loovens added: “We need a manager that is disciplined, well-organised, wants to play football, and needs to give everything for the team.
“But that’s down to the chairman in which one we need.”