For Carlos Carvalhal, it is high time Sheffield Wednesday awoke from their slumber.
Not since 2000 have the Owls graced the Premier League. For Wednesday’s charismatic Portuguese head coach, it is 15 years too long given the size, history and fan-base of the club.
After three successive wins, the signs are that the Owls are slowly becoming a team to be feared again.
“I’m very happy because we are in a very good way,” he said. “The self confidence of not just the players but the club and fans is more high at the moment.
“We are waking up the giant and that is very important.”
The giant maybe stirring, but Carvalhal wants football followers to be regularly talking about them.
Knocked top-flight strugglers Newcastle United out of the Capital One Cup last week raised Wednesday’s profile around Europe, according to Carvalhal.
He said: “When we won at Newcastle, there wasn’t just an impact in England. It had an international impact.
“Everybody around the world follows English football and when we won at Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday was mentioned all around the world.
“In my country, it had a big impact. I received a newspaper from a Portuguese friend. He showed me the back page of their sports newspaper and it was about us. It will be the same when we play Arsenal.”
As is his way, the charming, charismatic Portuguese chief entered the room for his press briefing at the Owls’ training ground yesterday with a big smile on his face. Before being interviewed, he shakes the hand of every member of the assembled media. It is a ritual he repeats before every single press call.
Wednesday’s fans are growing rather fond of Carvalhal. That became more apparent in Saturday’s victory over Brentford when the former Sporting Lisbon chief was immortalised in song. Carvalhal’s popularity continues to increase with every football match the team wins.
Carvalhal, who started his coaching career 17 years ago, believes in his own ability.
“I have a lot of experience in football,” he stated. “I studied for five years at university explicitly football so I prepared to become a coach.
“I have self confidence because I know this is my job. If you asked me about politics, maybe I can’t give you an answer. If you ask me about football, I can answer all the questions you throw at me on training, methodology and tactics.
“If you have that confidence and know you have done special things in the past with other teams, then you believe in yourself.
“Some people may think this is arrogance.
“There is a line between self confidence and arrogance. I am not an arrogant person. I am exactly on the line.
“I never change because I am not better than other people. But I know I am very good coach, believe in my work and know what I can do. I take my work very seriously.”
Carvalhal claims the turning point in Wednesday’s season was their 3-1 defeat to Burnley after the international break. With the transfer window having closed at the start of September, Carvalhal reckons that has helped him bed in the club’s 15 summer recruits.
“We lost at Burnley but the way our fans clapped us off the pitch created a big, emotional environment between me, my players and all my players,” he said.
“That has made a big difference and we have started to make a winning team since that moment.
“I write in my office that ‘we lose a game but we were a team on that day at Burnley’. After that game, we have played better and better.”
Despite their impressive form, Carvalhal is refusing to get carried away ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with lowly Preston North End.
“This is a dangerous game,” he said. “When everyone expects one thing, sometimes people relax and there can be surprises.
“We are working with our players to put them on red alert for this game. Preston are a dangerous team and we must show the same team spirit we showed in the last couple of games.
“We are focusing the players and telling them to forget the past. The future is the most important.
“You can’t sleep in football because you can lose everything in one minute. Our players must give the maximum. We have a lot of work to do. We must work hard to keep winning.”
You get the sense Carvalhal won’t rest until the sleeping giant is back where he feels they belong.