Sheffield Wednesday’s players must take the blame for their slump in fortunes, according to midfielder Barry Bannan, writes Richard Hercock.
Three goals in 11 second-half minutes consigned Jos Luhukay’s team to a fourth successive Championship defeat when they went down 4-0 at Hillsborough to Norwich City.
Wednesday are now just four points off the relegation zone with a daunting trip to Sheffield United looming on Friday night in the Steel City derby.
Owls fans confronted owner and chairman Dejphon Chansiri outside the stadium, after the match, demanding Dutchman Luhukay – who only arrived in January – be axed.
But Scottish international Bannan believes the players have to share the blame for Wednesday’s current slide.
“You can’t blame the manager,” said the 28-year-old. “We are the 11 players out there. It is not him who is playing the game for us.
“We are all behind the manager. It’s not the manager’s fault. It’s the players who go out there and play week in, week out. It is us who have got to take the flak. We are the ones playing.”
Luhukay has endured a tough first year in English football - a transfer embargo meant he had limited opportunities to tinker with his squad of players - but Saturday’s second-half surrender was the type of performance which, if becomes a regular occurrence, gets managers sacked.
Not that the former Hertha Berlin and Stuttgart manager is worried about his own future.
“For me it is not about confidence or trust, for me, how can I bring the team back to a positive period again,” he responded to questions over his future.
“That’s all I can try and do, the rest is not in my hands.
“I think we have the character - they did not give up - but when you don’t have 100 per cent confidence or trust, it’s not easy. We must fight to do better.
“What we have seen in the last four games, nobody expected, and we cannot accept this.
“I understand (the fans’ anger). We are also very frustrated and we are also angry.”
We are all behind the manager. It’s not the manager’s fault. It’s the players who go out there and play week in, week out. It is us who have got to take the flak. We are the ones playing.Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, Barry Bannan