Video: I've been here before - Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal is unfazed by mounting pressure
The spotlight on Owls chief Carlos Carvalhal has never been brighter.
His position has come under increasing scrutiny following an inconsistent start to the Championship season.
The clamour for Carvalhal to be sacked intensified after their poor 2-1 defeat to bottom club Bolton Wanderers last week. Furious Wednesdayites chanted ‘We Want Carlos Out’ after watching their team fall to a third loss in four outings.
But Carvalhal, who managed 15 clubs in 17 years prior to taking charge of the Owls in June 2015, has vowed to carry on and prove the critics wrong.
Carvalhal, the third longest-serving manager in the Championship, is in a tough spot but he has been in this situation before in his career.
“The last time I had this kind of experience was in Vitoria de Setubal,” he recalled. “I remember we lost a game and I had 5,000 fans screaming my name, saying ‘Carlos go home, Carlos go home.’”
During that period in their history, Setubal went through “very hard economical problems” and the players were owed five months salary, according to Carvalhal.
He said: “It was almost five months and created a bad atmosphere that day. It was very hard to me to try and push the players before the game.
“We lost and after I had a big problem where I had maybe 4 to 5,000 fans screaming my name to go home.
“The president called me the next day and said to me ‘what do you need to get promoted.’
“I just said ‘pay one month’s salary to the players’ and he asked me if I needed something and I said we maybe need two or three days camp to put everyone together and focused.
“After that game, we reacted very well and got promoted to the first division.”
Despite Wednesday’s dip in form, Carvalhal insists he does not feel under pressure.
He said: “It’s nothing new to me. These are hard situations but the big personalities deal with it.
“Everything is fine and happy in the easy days. Everybody says very nice words to you. In the bad moments, we see the men and personalities.”
Their losses have made Carvalhal even more determined to turn things around.
He said: “What hurts me is when we don’t win.
“It makes me more focused on things.
“We have worked hard this week and we know victories can change things. When we don’t win, things are more complicated and the fans stay unhappy. We are also not happy but we believe we will be out of this position.
“It’s a very hard competition and there are teams with the same expectations. We are not far away from the first positions so we have plenty of time to recover.
“This is the time for the players to stand up and say ‘we are here and we must be more consistent.’”
With over a quarter of the campaign gone, the Owls currently lie in 12th position, eight points shy of the automatic promotion spots.
Carvalhal who has led the Hillsborough club to back-to-back play-offs, understands the fans’ frustration but is determined to win them over.
But the Portuguese boss acknowledged: “We must win games and points as soon as possible.
“We are not doing well and that is the reality but there are a lot of teams who are not doing well who have the same ambition as us. At the end, the teams who are more stabalised and with value will be in the first places.”
The 51-year-old admits he is baffled by the side’s patchy displays.
He said: “I was very upset about the Bolton game, not just about the score but how we played. I have tried to discover why we play like this one day and then some days completely different.
“I look to myself also at what I did wrong and what I must push some more.
“It’s not a question of value; when you play like how we did against Leeds, a high level performance, and after few days with the same players, we did exactly the opposite.
“So it’s important to ask internal questions about why things change in those few days. The answers must be from within ourselves and I give some responsibility to the players about that.”