Carlos Carvalhal may refuse to discuss his aims and aspirations beyond the next game but he let something slip after Sheffield Wednesday secured a play-off place at the weekend.
Following Saturday’s impressive 3-0 triumph over Cardiff City which cemented a top six finish, the Portuguese was asked what he thought at the start of the season was a realistic finish for Wednesday.
In Carvalhal’s own inimitable style, he took the gathered media on a journey through the last nine months and revealed at one point he thought automatic promotion was within the reach of his side.
But first, he admitted he always believed a top eight finish was achievable.
“After seven games, we were in 19th position at that moment,” he said.
“If you ask me in that moment, I will tell you it would not be easy.
“But we started to receive more players, we stayed compact and we were like a team, we didn’t move players too much so it was the same team.
“We created an environment between us and the players, the players and the fans.
“We discussed with each other and we saw the teams. It is a very difficult competition, the Championship is the hardest in the world.
“I am absolutely sure because the sequence is very dangerous. If you have a problem for one week, you lose three games and that is nine points which means you stay out of something.
“But we were balanced and then we stated hoping we could finish in the best eight places.
“We had this wish. We never talked about positions with the players but between the coaches we said we had a chance to play in the eight best positions.
“In time when we started working better and better, we believed in more.”
By mid-February, Wednesday moved within four points of second spot as the top of the Championship became incredibly congested.
And it was around this time Carvalhal began to think automatic promotion was a possibility.
But a run of three draws and two defeats saw the Owls fall away.
He said: “We were near the first two positions, I think six or seven points in one moment.
“I had a wish in the moment we could go for the top two positions.
“But I don’t need to remember what happened in four or five games.
“We missed players, we did not have luck with the decisions of the referees.
“In those three or four games we didn’t win. We missed some points and we came down a little.”