Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal says he isn’t surprised by the Owls’ position as play-off contenders.
However, the Portuguese has praised his players for picking up on his philosophy so quickly, leading to a current sixth-placed spot in the Championship.
At the beginning of the campaign, few would have backed Wednesday to make a break for promotion, not least because having won on the opening day, it would be mid-September before fans witnessed the next victory.
Since then, a steady rise up the table now sees the Owls’ destiny in their own hands - three points ahead of seventh-placed Cardiff, with eight games of the season remaining.
While outsiders may be shocked by the top six tilt, Carvalhal certainly isn’t.
“About the position that we have at the moment, not a big surpise but in the first year maybe some people think it is very easy to change and create a philosphy but it is not because there are a lot of blocks that you have,” he said. “Not intentional but natural blocks, it is not an easy situation but we achieved it very fast.”
Carvalhal added: “We are maturing as a team and the position we have at the moment, we deserve. If we talk about the process, what we are doing game-by-game we deserve what we have at this moment.
“Let’s see what we will deserve in the future because eight games remain and game-by-game we will try and do our best and let’s see at the end what we can do.
“It’s not a big surprise (to be in the top six) but I am still thinking there are teams that started the season in better conditions than us but during the process we are outsiders, we come in from the right and we are in a good position.
“If you look at our team, I think all the things we are doing, the people responsible are the players.”
Wednesday, like most of the division, now have a run of seven games in the month of April, starting with a Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield tomorrow. However, Carvalhal, who has rotated his team throughout the campaign, is confident he has the squad capable of coping with the challenges ahead.
“We have a very tough month which we have had in the past, it is nothing new to our team. We have ambition to do our best but at the same time we are quiet because we are completely focused on the next game against Huddersfield,” he said.
“It is the most important game of our lives because it is the next one.”