Sheffield Wednesday: Relaxed Carlos ready for Robins test

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal
Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal
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It is unlikely the Sheffield Wednesday job will affect Carlos Carvalhal’s sleeping patterns.

The Portuguese, the Owls’ first foreign manager in their 148-year history, is sure he will get plenty of kip ahead of tomorrow’s opening day showdown with Bristol City.

Luke Freeman

Luke Freeman

“Usually I sleep very well before the matches,” he said. “I don’t have any problems.

“Before the matches, even when I was a player, I don’t have any stress.”

It is post-match that the strain and pressure of management takes its toll on Carvalhal.

“I have stress post match,” he said. “Usually I fall asleep early after the match because I’m very tired.

“Sometimes I wake up at 4am on a Sunday.”

Thr 49-year-old is banking on enjoying more sweet dreams than nightmares as he prepares to embark on his first season in English football.

Carvalhal has been charged with the task of leading Wednesday back into the Premier League within the next two years.

Speaking to the press corps yesterday, Carvalhal, in his own inimitable and charming way, likened the football season to driving to London. He insists there will be twists and turns in the journey but is confident the Owls will end up on the right path and realise their top-flight ambition.

While he is not trying to dampen the fans’ enthusiasm, Carvalhal was keen to stress only three out of the 24 Championship teams can get promoted.

He stated: “We must be realistic. There are some steps we must take before we get to where we want to be.

“I don’t want to create a big expectation but also I don’t want to break the wishes of the players and the fans.

“I don’t want to put a long-term achievement. I prefer to take step by step and we will see what we do game by game.

“What I can promise is we will fight and try 100% to win all the matches. We will try to win and see if we are in the top positions.”

Braga-born Carvalhal is adamant Wednesday are dark horses to go up this season. He fancies the three relegated clubs: Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Hull City, to be there or thereabouts and expects Middlesbrough, Ipswich Town and Brentford to be strong again.

He said: “The teams who have been relegated have big parachute payments and have big budgets. They have very good conditions. They have players from the Premier League and have more money to buy players. They are the favourites.

“But, at the same time, there are some teams that came close to promotion last year who have the same coaches, players and philosophy. They have improved their teams year by year. These kind of teams are ready to fight for the top positions.

“We are in a different situation. I don’t want to talk about money and budgets but we will try to do our best. We will fight game by game and see what we can do.

“We are outsiders but that doesn’t mean we have ambitions. We want to do our best but we have a new pitch, new players and philosophy. Not everything will be ready in one minute. We need time.”

Six of Wednesday’s 11 new additions are foreign and have never played in this country before but Carvalhal has defended their decision to look overseas for new talent.

“When I first arrived, I said my aim is to bring in British players,” he said. “All the time I have tried to bring them in but it is not an easy market.

“Sometimes when we have followed some players, they are very expensive. We have alternatives and sometimes the foreign players are the second or third alternatives we have.

“We have brought in Jack Hunt, Rhoys Wiggins, Ross Wallace and Lewis McGugan because we need those type of players with experience. The foreign players must adapt to English football whereas these guys have completely adapted.

“It will be more easy if the base of the team have played in the division. The foreign players have got to learn the difficulties of the Championship.”

Tried and trusted Championship performers such as Hunt, McGugan and Wallace are in line to make their debuts when they entertain the Robins.

Glenn Loovens is set to renew his partnership with Tom Lees at the heart of their rearguard, having shrugged off an ankle problem. Only Filipe Melo (knee) and Claude Dielna (toe) are unavailable for first-team duty.

New boys Rhoys Wiggins and Modou Sougou may have to settle for a place on the substitutes bench, having only joined the Owls this week. Left-back Wiggins has arrived for an undisclosed fee from Charlton Athletic while Sengalese winger Sougou has joined on a free transfer following his release by French giants Marseille.

When pressed on the qualities the duo will bring to Wednesday, Carvalhal said: “I know him [Sougou] very well. He will be very good for us. He can change a game, he’s very speedy and is experienced.

“Rhoys [Wiggins] is a player we have followed for a very long time. Since we have come to Sheffield, he’s someone we have followed.

“I’m very happy to be with him now. He is a good, experienced Championship player.”

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