Sheffield Wednesday: Win over Aston Villa was down to Atdhe Nuhiu, says Carlos Carvalhal
Head coach Carlos Carvalhal claims his second half tactical switch inspired Sheffield Wednesday's victory over newly-relegated Aston Villa.
In front of over 30,000 fans at Hillsborough yesterday, the Owls claimed maximum points following Fernando Forestieri’s 85th minute strike.
Carvalhal feels Atdhe Nuhiu made a big difference after he was introduced as a substitute in the final quarter of the contest. The big forward replaced Ross Wallace.
“We had a fantastic first half and never lost control of the game against very tough opponents who tried to close the spaces,” he said.
“In the second half we started well but, because we didn’t score, Aston Villa started to create some problems.
“At that moment, we had two options. I could have put another player in midfield to close the spaces and tried to play on the counter attack as Aston Villa were controlling the game.
“But we took a risk as we wanted to win the game. We decided to put (Atdhe) Nuhiu on and we were more dangerous again. We scored a goal because the goalkeeper did a mistake, but he did that because Gary Hooper put him under pressure. The ball came to our special player and Fernando scored a goal.”
It is the third year on the trot Wednesday have triumphed on the opening weekend of the season and Carvalhal thinks they fully merited the three points.
He said: “I thought we deserved to win the game. All the players deserved to win this game.
“I think we are more compact than last season and we are moving the ball again very well. We are improving the team and I think they are playing at another level now compared to the start of last season.”
The Portuguese chief refused to single out Forestieri for praise despite his match-winning exploits, saying: “All the players are special.
“We are a team. Nobody wins anything alone. We won because we did a fantastic team spirit.”
On Forestieri, he added: “When Fernando got through, more often than not he puts the ball into the net. He is a special killer.
“In moments like that, he can be very cold. (Steven) Fletcher is the same, as is Gary Hooper. Their head goes very cold and they can score. I believe that when they get the ball.”