Sheffield Wednesday: Cautious Carvalhal says no one is thinking of Wembley...yet
Carlos Carvalhal has dismissed suggestions his side are already thinking about a trip to Wembley as they prepare for the second leg of their Championship Play-Off Semi-Final duel with Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Owls, who jetted out to the south coast yesterday, take a commanding two-goal lead into tonight’s tussle after an impressive performance at a sold-out Hillsborough last Friday.
Carvalhal, the Wednesday head coach, hailed their display as “one of the best of the season” but has warned his team to maintain their focus against an injury-ravaged side.
“Our team is very experienced and I’m sure they will be absolutely focused on the game,” stressed Carvalhal, who has never visited the national stadium. “Nobody is thinking about what will happen after.
“They are just thinking about Monday’s game.
“We will prepare for this game exactly the same as every game we have played this season. There is no other way.
“I do not even think about the final. I think 100 per cent about the second leg.”
Brighton, denied automatic promotion on the final day of the regular season with a 1-1 draw away at Middlesbrough, will be aiming to become the first side to overturn a two-goal first leg defecit in a second-tier Semi-Final.
Carvalhal insisted: “We must recover the players because we need to play at a high intensity. We haven’t achieved anything yet.
“Brighton are a good team and it will be a very tough game.
“But we are healthy. Our team have power in this part of the season which is important after we have played 50 plus; we are still playing like we were at the beginning of the season. We are very fresh and healthy.”
The quick turnaround holds no fears for Carvalhal.
The Portuguese chief said: “It is something that is not strange to us because we have played all the season every few days. Both teams are in the same circumstances so it doesn’t make any difference.”
Should Wednesday hold their nerve, it is likely they will face Hull City in the Final after the Tigers cruised to a 3-0 success away at Derby County. The second leg will take place at KCOM Stadium tomorrow.
Meanwhile, George Hirst, the son of Owls legend David, started in the England Under-17s 1-0 loss against Spain in the quarter-finals of the European Championships.