Dom Howson column: Keeping morale high is key to turn Owls into winners

Wednesday's dressing room at Hillsborough
Wednesday's dressing room at Hillsborough

It brought a smile to my face when I heard Mark Lawrenson recently say Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has changed from “a great winner to a great whinger” this season.

Mourinho is not the only person on the planet who likes a good moan. From time to time, sports reporters like to complain about various aspects of their job, ranging from the anti-social hours they work to below-par press facilities at grounds.

But the Nottingham Forest match reminded me again how lucky and privileged I am to get paid to watch Sheffield Wednesday home and away every week.

Just a couple of hours before kick-off, a friend at the club showed me around the newly-upgraded home dressing room at Hillsborough and allowed me to walk down the famous players’ tunnel to the side of the pitch.

It was great to go behind the scenes and see another part of the ground which chairman Dejphon Chansiri has heavily invested in. Following the facelift, it is now a swanky, modern room fit for a Premier League club.

All drinks, cereal bars, water melons, match-day programmes, towels, shin pads, football boots and kit were laid out in preparation for the players arrival around 1 o’clock.

Funnily enough, I bumped into an Owls player quarter of an hour or so after seeing the newly refurbished changing rooms. We had a quick chat and I asked him if he has found it frustrating being in and out of the side, with head coach Carlos Carvalhal favouring a squad rotation policy.

The player, who shall remain nameless, told me: “I can’t go into the manager’s office and complain when the team is doing well.

“You can’t be selfish in this game. A football club is like a business and we have to all be pulling in the same direction.

“It’s not about my personal interests. It’s about the bigger picture.”

There are some big egos and personalities in Carvalhal’s multi-cultural squad but the charismatic Portuguese has, so far, successfully managed to keep the majority happy.

They now possess the strength in depth to challenge the Championship’s elite but Carvalhal must make sure morale remains high in the camp if he is to turn them into winners.