After a lovely week on Wearside, LJ has been giving his final press preview before heading to Crewe to try and make it five wins in a row…
"For me, it's about the defined rules [within all systems]. I'll be honest it was something that I assessed when I had that five months to really look at things and consider things after my sacking at Bristol City. Often when you change the shape, especially from a five to a four, it's quite different in the slide and the way that the full backs and the wing backs press. So I had to design, or tweak if you like, the philosophy so that we could play three different shapes and still bring out the qualities of our individuals, but not change the defensive rules too much. So for example on Tuesday night, the only unit that had any sort of change in the 3-4-3 was the two central midfielders, and it was only one or two defined differences which makes it very easy to understand."
"When you've got the flexibility of players like Lynden Gooch and Luke O'Nien, it's a real strength to the squad because obviously you can pick an XI and then adjust within the game. Myself, as a player I'd have been fuming if someone had stuck me out on the left or at right-back, so as a coach I fully appreciate the attitude these players are showing in enjoying that versatility."
“I think he could be the best utility player I’ve ever seen. I’ve still not see him at right-back, but he’s been outstanding at centre-half and was very good in an attacking-midfield role. What he does that impresses me so much is that he’s all-in. Every single action, he’s all-in. Even when he falls over, he falls over with passion and intensity! It’s credit to him and his professionalism, and he really epitomises what you want from the personality of your team."