Lee Johnson explains working relationship with Ben Kensell and the Gordons as he fights for change at Hibs
The Easter Road boss has been brutally honest in recent months about where he thinks the Hibees – on a run of nine defeats in 11 matches – have been falling short on and off the park. Johnson, who has been in charge since May, has spoken about the need for improved recruitment and after Monday's 3-0 defeat to city rivals Hearts he admitted he was "sick to death of the mediocrity" within his squad as he vowed to weed out the "dead wood".
Asked if he felt owner Ron Gordon, head of recruitment Ian Gordon and chief executive Ben Kensell shared his thoughts on what needs to change, Johnson said: "I don't know, I hope so. Listen I have great communication, I love the Gordons to bits, the family is fantastic. This football club is a brilliant investment, in my opinion.
“And we have got to get so many structures right. Ben Kensell works his socks off, he's in at 6am and we're still talking at 11, 11.30pm at night. You've got good people there and that's why I want to continue to fight for what I believe is a really good cause. We're not a million miles away but we've got to get so much right to drive the club forward quickly.”
Hibs recruited 12 players in Johnson's first transfer window at the club, but the manager admits he would prefer quality over quantity, citing the likes of Aiden McGeady, Kevin Nisbet and Kyle Magennis – all of whom have recently returned from long-term injury – as the calibre of player he wants to pack his squad with.
“The boys work hard. Every day in training they are on point,” he said. “They put it in, the physical element, their body fat is the best it's ever been and their fitness is up to the best it's ever been. But you can't just go out onto the pitch and run around like a busy fool.
“We are chasing fitness in McGeady and in Nisbet and Magennis, these are quality players who can make a difference and tidy the ball up. But the fit players at the moment either don't have that football IQ or the ability to manipulate the ball and that is frustrating.
“It's not the worst squad in the world, I'm not saying we are a bad team and I haven't lost belief in the ones I believe in. I just think we need to add better quality and work our budget better. There's a lot of average squad players, too many. I'd rather get rid of 10 and sign one that is high quality. We have made mistakes (with recruitment), it's as simple as that.”