Sheffield Wednesday: Only happy memories for Carlos Carvalhal reflecting on last Wembley visit

Carlos Carvalhal celebrates securing a play-off place
Carlos Carvalhal celebrates securing a play-off place
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Nearly 12 months ago, Carlos Carvalhal achieved a boyhood dream.

The amiable Portuguese chief surpassed all expectations by leading the Owls to the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Carlos Carvalhal cannot hide his disappointment after defeat in the play-off final to Hull last year

Carlos Carvalhal cannot hide his disappointment after defeat in the play-off final to Hull last year

Growing up in his homeland, Braga-born Carvalhal used to watch the FA Cup Final on his black and white television but he feared he would never get a chance to visit the national stadium.

Ultimately, there was no happy ending for Carvalhal or Wednesday in the showpiece final as the Hillsborough outfit were outplayed by Hull City and missed the opportunity to gain promotion to the Premier League.

In front of over 40,000 noisy Wednesdayites, Carvalhal was in tears as he led his team on a lap of honour.

The result did not go the Owls’ way but Carvalhal insists he will never forget the occasion.

“It was one of the happiest moments of my career,” said Carvalhal. “The last 20 years have not been good to the fans.

“We achieved a play-off place in our first year in England with a team who were completely underdogs. We beat Brighton in the semi-finals and they finished third and had 15 more points than us last season.

“To reach the final was something unbelievable.

“I just remember happy things about that final. It was a big achievement of our players. It was something very, very positive and not negative.

“But we learned, of course, from the situation and let’s see what we can do in the semi-finals.”

The Owls are currently on a six-match winning streak and booked a top-six finish for the second year running courtesy of a hard-fought victory over Ipswich Town last weekend.

Victory over Fulham in the final match of the regular season could see them finish as high as third and guarantee home advantage in the second leg of the play-off semi-finals.

Carvalhal said: “We have more points than we had last season. We have played better in understanding the competition. We lost a lot of points last season against teams near the bottom but we have learned from that.

“We are better this season and when we are better everything is more positive.

“We knew that we had to manage the expectations of the fans this year. I think we have dealt well with the expectations.

“When we were seventh or eighth for one or two weeks, we never lost our heads. We drove the team to a good position and the quality of our game started improving.”

Wednesday’s opponents in the play-offs will be confirmed on Sunday following the final round of league fixtures.

Season ticket holders can snap up tickets for the home leg at the Ticket Office, by telephone on 03700 201867 (£2 booking fee per ticket) or at the Sheffield Wednesday Online Shop.

The tie has been designated Category G, meaning tickets are priced at £20 for all sections of the ground, with over 65s and under 21s at £15. Under 17s pay £10 and under 11s will pay £5.

Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday, May 9.