Fifty not out.
Tonight’s vital showdown with troubled MK Dons will see Carlos Carvalhal’s 50th match in charge of the Owls.
Regardless of whether Sheffield Wednesday are successful in their quest to gain promotion, Carvalhal has earned a whole host of admirers since taking over the reins last summer.
Some fans were sceptical of Carvalhal’s appointment, but the Owls’ aggressive, attractive brand of football has gradually won the critics over. The Portuguese head coach has transformed them into promotion contenders and his win ratio stands at an impressive 46.9 per cent.
The positives have far outweighed the negatives.
Having managed in his homeland, Greece and Turkey, Carvalhal always believed he and his backroom staff had the ability to flourish in English football.
“I know what I and my staff can do,” he told The Star. “All the time there is a line between self confidence and arrogance.
“My staff and I never jump over that line, but we know our value.
“We try to always do our best and push the club up. We are 100 per cent professionals. We give everything to Sheffield Wednesday.
“If one time the club decides we are not the correct people to work, I have no problem with that. They will lose good staff and good coach. We think all the time like this.”
One of Carvalhal’s big strengths is that he is a real student of the game.
“I’m not the kind of person who says they know everything,” he said. “I will carry on learning until the last second of my life.
“I have learned a lot about the culture and football (since coming to England). I’m learning about different people from the players, the fans, the assistant coaches, the chairman and the people who support all our work. I have learned a lot of things.”
As he has repeatedly stated, Carvalhal is not fussed by individual prizes or accolades. It is all about the collective for the former Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas boss.
But when he was asked if he was looking forward to racking up his half century, Carvalhal said: “It is nice. Fifty games is sometimes over two seasons in some countries but we haven’t finished yet.
“It is a number and nothing more than that to me.
“It is more important what we have done in these months (together). All the team have grown up and the value of the players is better now.
“We are still fighting until the last second of the competition with good football, enthusiasm and attitude. We saw that in the last game with Ipswich where we played well. We reacted very fast after the previous defeat.
“These things make me happy and confident for the MK Dons game.”
Wednesday have gained a league-high 17 points from losing positions this season. They may still be short in certain departments of their team, but Carvalhal has instilled a never-say-die attitude.
“Our team gives a very good answer after defeat so it is something I appreciate,” he conceded.
“We have chosen the players very well. Not just their quality but their mentality as well.
“I’m very proud of our players as they have a very strong mentality. They know when we have problem that they must react to correct the problem and they are doing this fantastic. It is probably the best thing for me.”
For Carvalhal, there have been two low moments during his reign. The first was their slow start to the campaign. They sat 18th in the table after picking up just one win from their opening seven fixtures.
“We were not a full team,” he said.
The other period where Carvalhal feels they could have done better was between February and March when they went five matches without a win.
Carvalhal said: “It was a strange period where we didn’t have luck with decisions. We lost points. We missed important players but that’s football.”