Sheffield Wednesday: Praise for '˜father' figure Glenn Loovens
He's the daddy of the dressing room and an invaluable member of Wednesday's starting eleven.
Glenn Loovens may not always get the plaudits he deserves for his solid displays at the back, but his Owls teammate Vincent Sasso is convinced he will play major role in promotion run-in.
“Glenn is really important,” Sasso told The Star. “Even when he was not playing much last year, he’s an experienced guy.
“He gives advice on and off the pitch. He’s like the father of the group.”
Sasso, standing in as cover for the injured Tom Lees, is enjoying linking up with Loovens at the heart of Wednesday’s rearguard.
“It is good to play with Glenn because he is an experienced player,” he said. “He’s a nice guy and he speaks to me a lot.
“I played with Tom more last year but they are both good players.
“It is nice to play with both of them.”
Should Lees fail to shake off a knee injury, Sasso is in line to make his eighth successive Owls start at home to Burton Albion tonight. He has helped Wednesday keep two clean sheets and bagged a double in their victory over Blackburn Rovers.
“The more you play, the easier it gets,” he said. “Obviously I was a bit tired in my first game as I hadn’t played for a few months. It is never easy but I have got used to it.
“We had good results at the beginning. We lost the last couple of games before Norwich but we bounced back.”
The Frenchman is keen to give head coach Carlos Carvalhal a big selection headache.
He said: “Tom is injured at the moment but he’s coming back soon. He is a really good player.
“It is up to me to make a tough decision for the coach to choose a player.”
Things have not all gone according to plan for Sasso. He was criticised for the part he played in the goals the Owls conceded at Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.
Sasso said: “You have good games and bad games in football. The most important thing is how you react.
“I think myself and the whole team worked well after the two losses which is the most important thing.”
After back-to-back defeats, Wednesday returned to winning ways in style last weekend. Their 5-1 thumping of Norwich City was the biggest win under Carvalhal.
Sasso said: “It was important for us to bounce back after two losses.
“We played really well and the fans were behind us which made it easier.”
The Owls have often been accused of being slow starters this term but Carvalhal’s men took the game to Norwich from the off, establishing a two-goal lead midway through the first half.
“We spoke about it (a fast start) during the week,” said Sasso. “It helped we had one week to prepare for the game.
“The plan was to try and press a bit higher. We did well.”
Victory saw the sixth-placed Owls move to within four points of third-placed Huddersfield Town and means they remain five clear of nearest rivals Fulham in the race to confirm a play-off spot.
Sasso said: “It was important. If Norwich had won, they would have been only three points behind us.
“Now there is a small gap but there are still a lot of games so we have to take it game by game and look forward. We have to try and go on a run like we did before Brentford.”
Next up for Wednesday is a Hillsborough tussle with Burton, who are managed by ex-Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough.
Sasso stressed: “Every team in the Championship is tough. Nobody quits even if you are on top and leading 2-0.
“Even when we were 3-1 up against Norwich, we had to be focused as you never know what can happen.”