Sheffield Wednesday v Rotherham United – Owls’ expectations may be too high, claims Jos Luhukay

Owls manager Jos Luhukay.......Pic Steve Ellis
Owls manager Jos Luhukay.......Pic Steve Ellis
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EMBATTLED Sheffield Wednesday head coach Jos Luhukay insists he is solely focusing on the here and now and not on his Owls’ future ahead of today’s critical home derby with Rotherham United.

Wednesday head into today’s Hillsborough encounter on the back of a grim sequence of just one Championship victory in eight matches and defeat to a Millers side who have not won in their last 36 away games at second-tier level would significantly increase the pressure on chairman Dejphon Chansiri to call time on the under-fire Dutchman’s 11-month tenure.

Visiting fans called for Luhukay’s dismissal during the Owls’ 4-2 Roses loss to Blackburn Rovers last weekend, with Luhukay’s side just five points above the team occupying the final relegation position in Millwall.

Chansiri is due to fly into the UK from Thailand next week with the future of Luhukay likely to be high on the agenda.

While acknowledging the pressure upon his shoulders, the Owls manager equally believes that bringing in a new head coach is necessarily not the panacea to an instant turnaround either at a club who are in deep transition.

On his future, Luhukay, who is sweating on the fitness of influential midfielder Barry Bannan, said: “I do not know. I cannot give an answer. You must ask the chairman about that.

In football, when the results are not good, it is too easy to always give the manager the fault or the sack. It is easy to do that, but when you look deeper, who can give me the guarantee that someone else will come in and do a better job.

Sheffield Wednesday manager, Jos Luhukay

“I do not look to the future. I only look to this game and that must be the focus.

“When I am not here and there is another coach and (if) he does it better, then he does a better job than I, but you never know that.

“The example is Jaap Stam. He did a fantastic first year at Reading but in the second year, expectations were high and the team did not show the qualities for the positions in the league and last season they were fighting not to go down to League One. The new coach (Paul Clement) came in but he did not do a better job.

“The expectations are maybe too high. Last season, Reading and also Sheffield Wednesday stayed in the league.

“I came in January and we were six points off the bottom of the league and by the end we were 16 points above the bottom three.

“We are in the same situation this year, but the expectations are that we maybe play for the Premier League or that we must play for the play-offs.

“In football, when the results are not good, it is too easy to always give the manager the fault or the sack. It is easy to do that, but when you look deeper, who can give me the guarantee that someone else will come in and do a better job.

“Most of the time when you have 10 managers, nine managers get the sack. But out of the nine (that make a change), where does it get better? Maybe one or the two.

“You have the same team, the same players and the same problems.”

A major criticism of Luhukay’s reign among Owls supporters is the lack of a regular starting line-up and the number of changes made between matches – which has increasingly been used as a stick to beat the Dutchman with in recent times.

Luhukay defended those tactics in an impassioned pre-match press conference on Friday and cited the majority of his squad’s inability to cope with the demands of a 46-game Championship season as being the reason for his tinkering.

Luhukay, who will be without striker Fernando Forestieri for the next six to eight weeks with a hamstring problem, added: “It is a big problem. We play 46 games in the Championship.

“When we look to last season, who played 90 minutes in 25 games? Adam Reach.

“Only one player played more than 25 games in 90 minutes. It was Adam.

“It means more than half of the squad is not available.

“There are no excuses in football when you lose games. You can only look at the reality. We have a better physical situation than last season, but the results have not been good enough.

“Look from the first game (this season) to now in the statistics. We have now six, seven or eight players who can play more than 10 games in the 20 matches we have played so far.

“We now have players who can play more games in the Championship.

“Maybe at the end of the season you can see the balance and that hopefully more than half the players can play more than 25 games from 46 in the Championship.

“The more players that can play more games, the more stability and consistency that you have in results.”