They wanted to put down a promotion marker.
Indeed, much of the talk before this Roses battle was over whether Wednesday could make a big statement of intent by overcoming one of their top-six rivals.
It has to be said that the Owls’ record against the sides in the upper echelons of the Championship leaves a lot to be desired. It reads zero wins in eight attempts after they were held to an entertaining draw with Burnley.
However, they can take big encouragement and confidence from a rip-roaring second half showing which, on another occasion, could have yielded maximum points.
Kieran Lee’s fifth goal of the campaign salvaged them a point, cancelling out Andre Gray’s third minute opener, to stretch their unbeaten run at fortress Hillsborough to 14 matches in all competitions.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood deserves a special mention. He made a crucial stop before half-time to prevent Sam Vokes from doubling Burnley’s advantage. There probably would have been no way back for the Owls had that gone in.
Having made multiple changes for Saturday’s disappointing FA Cup exit at League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town, Carvalhal reverted to his strongest line-up, making ten alterations. Only Gary Hooper kept his place in the side.
There was one slight tactical change as Sam Hutchinson returned at centre-back, a role he excelled in before Christmas. He put in another strong, combative showing.
Carvalhal fielded an attack-minded team, featuring Fernando Forestieri, Atdhe Nuhiu and Hooper, but Burnley made the faster start.
Sean Dyche’s troops, aiming to make a swift return to the Premier League, made their intentions clear from the off, with Gray testing the reflexes of Keiren Westwood after less than 30 seconds from distance.
The hosts failed to heed that warning and Gray opened the scoring in the third minute, tapping home from two yards out after Welsh international Sam Vokes had shrugged off the attentions of Glenn Loovens far too easily. It was a soft goal to give away and Gray’s sixth strike in his last seven outings.
The Vokes and Gray partnership continued to cause Wednesday’s backline problems and it seemed to take Carvalhal’s men an age to settle down.
Ross Wallace, playing against his former club, fired straight at Tom Heaton following a good move involving Atdhe Nuhiu and Kieran Lee in the 20th minute but the Owls generally lacked cohesion in the final third.
Mid-way through the half, Daniel Pudil’s surging run briefly put Wednesday on the front foot. The left-back went down under a challenge involving Michael Keane in the penalty area but referee Andy Woolmer waved play on. His decision incensed the Wednesday faithful.
At the other end, it took an inch perfect slide tackle by Pudil to prevent Scott Arfield breaking clear one on one and forcing Westwood into action.
Just after the half hour mark, Arfield side-footed over when well-placed following a neat cut back by George Boyd as Burnley pressed for a second.
There was a big cheer among the home faithful when Joey Barton was cautioned after hauling down Nuhiu.
As the half wore on, Wednesday improved, with Pudil unable to convert Wallace’s dangerous delivery before Forestieri twice came close to levelling things up.
Wallace, looking lively on the right flank, fizzed a left foot piledriver inches over before Forestieri’s right foot curler was well saved by Heaton.
For all of their eye-catching approach play, Carvalhal’s charges had nothing to show for their efforts and Burnley nearly made them pay before the interval. Vokes rose highest to meet David Jones’ corner with a powerful header only to be thwarted by the agility of Westwood.
That miss came back to haunt the Clarets as Lee equalised three minutes after the re-start, coolly slotting home after a lovely knock down by Nuhiu.
Lee’s finish was greeted by a huge roar from three sides of the ground. The momentum had shifted Wednesday’s way and Bannan, pulling the strings in the centre, saw his fierce effort fly over.
Driven on by the home crowd, Forestieri saw his low effort deflected behind and then, from the resulting corner, Nuhiu headed over.
Although Wednesday dictated much of the second period, Burnley wasted a glorious opportunity to regain the lead in the 69th minute. Substitute Matt Taylor whipped in a teasing centre towards the back post and Vokes volleyed wide when he should have at least tested Westwood. It was a big let off for the Owls.
With 12 minutes remaining, Bannan pounced on a poor clearance by Ward and his dipping attempt flew agonisingly over the top, much to Heaton’s relief.
In a thrilling finale, Wallace, in his last act before being replaced by new loan singing Aiden McGeady, drilled a shot straight at Heaton while Westwood spread himself well to block Arfield’s effort.
What Wednesday underlined is that they are more than a match for the top teams in the division. Now they just need to start beating them.
Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood; Hunt, Loovens, Hutchinson, Pudil; Wallace (McGeady 87), Lee, Bannan, Forestieri; Nuhiu (Joao 82), Hooper. Substitutes: Price, Semedo, McGugan, Bennett, Sasso.
Burnley: Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Boyd (Taylor 59), Jones, Barton, Arfield; Vokes, Gray (Hennings 87). Substitutes: Robinson, Duff, Kightly, Darikwa, Ulvestad.
Referee: Andy Woolmer