Only three points but some wins are much bigger than others. And so are some defeats.
It’s why Sheffield Wednesday’s manager and team desperately needed a good performance at Birmingham last night (AFTER this went to press) just to lower, by even a decibel or two, the thunder rumbling on around them.
So, writing blind and knowing the way some fans react to each and every result, I take a big risk with this statement: Carlos Carvalhal is still very much the man for the job. That is opinion. Disagree by all means. What is certain is that he doesn’t deserve some of the deeply offensive personal attacks aimed at him this week.
Not that the reaction to Sunday was extreme. Derby results live long in legend and can take years to live down. Count Hillsborough on September 24th among those, acclaimed by Wednesday’s city rivals as revenge at last for the “Boxing Day Massacre” of 1979. Even a staunch supporter of Carvalhal cannot attempt to silence these reverberations. Only plead for some respect and balance.
What has to be overcome is far more than a single setback across a long season. I think Carvalhal, in inviting “pressure” on himself rather than his players, clearly registered his understanding of that amid such an almighty embarrassment.
The Owls didn’t turn up at the start, put in an appearance for 20 minutes and then disappeared again. Not acceptable, a let down for everyone. But were some of those howling “Carlos out” among the many championing his fine overall record before the game after a seven match unbeaten run? Such is the fickleness of football and the extreme emotion, while understandable, of one 90 minutes.
I sincerely hope a wheel or two was put back on the wagon at St. Andrew’s – in a huge and portentous week with Leeds at Hillsborough on Sunday. Now, as before, Wednesday have the players and squad for the top six. That is the double-edged sword for the coach who has the responsibility, as in his first two seasons, of making that a reality. His record strongly suggests he can.
Yet, while judgement remained way premature, in my view, ahead of the midweek game, the 4-2 derby crash has piled extra pressure on the man.
He carries it on behalf of supporters as well as his chairman and, as he has often stated, it is the mood outside the club that will affect him the most. I suspect if Carlos, who is highly sensitive to his standing, did end up going during this season it would be as much and more his decision than the owner’s.
I have no recent sounding on this but, based on Dejphon Chansiri’s stance of early this season, I doubt he’s even contemplated a change of manager let alone considered potential replacements. It’s not unconditional support from him (or me). I think Carlos has to deliver minimum top six.
But you have to admire this sense of loyalty and surely conclude it is entirely vindicated by results past and promise present.
Let’s see it delivered and – this time – a true big match performance on Sunday.