Lee Johnson: New Hibs boss promises ‘aggressive, forward-thinking’ football | football news

Lee Johnson intends to wow the Hibernian fanbase with a brand of “aggressive, forward-thinking” football.

The 40-year-old former Sunderland and Bristol City boss was named to replace Shaun Maloney at Easter Road on Thursday on a four-year deal.

Hibs have just wrapped up an unconvincing campaign which saw them finish eighth in the Scottish Premier League, but Johnson is hoping to get fans’ juices flowing again.

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Johnson believes he’s inherited a good squad, but it’s one that will need to develop if he is to find success again at Easter Road

“Hibs are getting a hungry manager,” Johnson said when asked what kind of boss he was. “I feel like football is in my blood.

“My father is a manager. A large part of my family plays football and I have a lot of experience despite my relatively young age. I want to bring all of that to Hibs.

“The most important thing is to get a supporter base that feels connected and can identify with the performance. I want the fanbase to really be a part of our performance, that’s absolutely crucial for me.

“Can we have such a clear identity in our way of playing that they can start to see key factors in games and therefore get behind us and support us?

“I want an aggressive team that thinks ahead. I want players to play forward and run forward. The easy part is making sure we’re playing with such a pace and high line that we can force the opponent to make unforced errors.

“I want us to be world class in transition and for that you need athletic players with quality and good decisions.”

Johnson briefly played for Hearts in 2006 but laughed at any notion that playing for city rivals Hibs should be a consideration.

Lee Johnson had a brief stint with Hearts as a player
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Lee Johnson had a brief stint with Hearts as a player

“I don’t think my stint there was that memorable,” he said. “Over 500 games as a player, four of which I played for Hearts.

“Maybe it was because I was double agent for Hibs very early on! It’s part of my story. It was a really interesting time with what was going on behind the scenes [under former owner Vladimir Romanov].

“But what you get from me here is total commitment. I will be fully immersed in the city, culture and identity we are trying to bring to Hibs.”

Johnson, who also played for Kilmarnock, wants to be more successful as a coach in Scotland than as a player.

Chairman Ron Gordon is confident he made the right choice in Lee Johnson
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Chairman Ron Gordon is confident they made the right choice in Johnson

“First and foremost, the size of the club, that’s important to me,” he said when asked about the appeal of managing Hibs.

“I feel like I’m a bit unsettled in Scotland. What I did in my playing days wasn’t enough to scratch the itch from my roots because I’m half Scottish from my mother’s side.

“What better place for that than a big club like this? I’ve always respected the standard in Scotland. It’s a great league where big games are close and fast.”

David Gray will continue as first-team coach
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David Gray will continue as first-team coach

Johnson – who will retain manager David Gray as part of his backroom staff along with forthcoming new assistant Jamie McAllister – plans to bolster Hibs’ attack with new recruits, but he believes he will improve some of the players already at the club can.

“I think Hibs underperformed a little, even though I was there [similar] Jobs, so I know there’s always context,” he said.

“It’s important to realize that. There are some fantastic players at the club, some really good young players that I like and we have the scope to add quality and be successful at the front end of the pitch.

“There is a lot to do, but I also feel that the only way I can enrich the current squad is as a coach.”

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