“Derby respect shows why England is so special” - Carlos Carvalhal’s continental comparison ahead of Sheffield Wednesday v Sheffield United

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal...Pic Steve Ellis
Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal...Pic Steve Ellis
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The pressure-cooker environment of a Steel City derby is unlikely to rattle Carlos Carvalhal.

The Wednesday head coach relishes the big stage.

After all, the 51-year-old is a veteran of some fierce derby matches in Europe. During his stint at Sporting Lisbon, Carvalhal led them into battle against their arch rivals Benfica.

He has also coached in his fair share of hostile Turkish affairs. When he was in charge of Besiktas over five years ago, Carvalhal’s side went toe-to-toe with Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

He said: “I have played and managed in a lot of derbies. All derbies are special.

“Some of them are very hard. Sporting-Benfica is something unbelievable and so is Besiktas-Galatasaray.

Owls Carlos Carvalhal....Pic Steve Ellis

Owls Carlos Carvalhal....Pic Steve Ellis

“These kind of games are very important to the fans and we understand that.

“But we have to focus on the things that we can do to win the game.”

Derbies are “completely different” in Portugal and Turkey, according to Carvalhal.

“You check with police over protection, when you arrive at the stadium about 10,000 opposition fans are screaming and calling you bad names,” he has previously stated.

Owls Carlos Carvalhal......Pic Steve Ellis

Owls Carlos Carvalhal......Pic Steve Ellis

“Maybe you have stones being thrown at the team bus, with the police trying to protect you.

“You go inside the stadium and you have 60,000 or 70,000 fans who make the environment very nervous, it’s completely different.

“The people don’t just go to focus on the game and support the teams. It’s more aggressive and that’s not good. Emotions are higher. If you are on the bus and you see stones thrown at the bus, you feel angry.

“If 5,000 people are calling you bad names, your emotions change.”

Owls Carlos Carvalhal.....Pic Steve Ellis

Owls Carlos Carvalhal.....Pic Steve Ellis

Carvalhal said he “didn’t enjoy the derbies” when he was at Sporting or Besiktas, citing the environment as “very aggressive and not easy to deal with”.

But he is a big fan of them in this country.

“I believe people respect the football more,” he said. “There is rivalry, but respect, and you can enjoy the derbies.

“Here, the fans connect with the derby. It is an emotional environment for the players, but it’s a positive one. It’s why I believe England is special.”

The Owls’ build-up to the derby has been relatively low key. Carvalhal held his pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon. It has been business as usual at Middlewood Road.

Carvalhal said: “I don’t feel any extra pressure; it’s the same pressure as when we started two years ago.

“When you are at Sheffield Wednesday with the fans that we have, we have an obligation to fight for the three points against all the opponents.

“Our preparations have gone very well. The team is smiling and confident.

“I feel the atmosphere is very positive in training and they (the players) have smiles on their faces. They are giving positive signals.

“We are playing better and better and the performances have improved a lot in the last five games. We have achieved 11 points in the last five games.”

When addressing the media, Carvalhal cut a relaxed figure.

“We have not changed anything that we have been doing over the last few weeks and years for this game,” he stressed. “Our preparation has been absolutely the same. We have focused on specific things.

“We have analysed United like we do with all the opponents. I will, of course, not mention the strong points that they have but we will try to exploit their weak points.

“United have a philosophy and way of playing. They have done very well and the coach is doing a very good job.

“We have done the same in the last two seasons. We are trying to improve the team and play with more quality. We have two more points compared to last season and are in a better position compared to last season. We are improving the team in all aspects and will try to win.

“It will be an interesting game because both teams want to win.”

Carvalhal is meticulous and thorough in his preparation for matches. His attention to detail is second to none. He will have left no stone unturned ahead of tomorrow’s blockbuster tussle.

“We are focused on the specific things about the game,” said Carvalhal. “We know United’s team very well.

“They have strong and weak points like all teams. It will be a tough game for both teams. We are confident and will fight to win the three points from the first second.”