Carlos Carvalhal has defended his medical team in the wake of a catalogue of injuries striking his Sheffield Wednesday squad.
Ahead of tonight’s meeting with Wolves at Hillsborough, the Owls head coach again pointed to his growing list of sidelined stars as one of the reasons behind their dreadful results and performances of late.
However, Carvalhal insisted that the training regime, the heavy schedule of the Championship and, pointedly, his medical department were not the reason why seven players are currently unavailable.
“One thing is very important, people will say ‘you have a lot of injuries, it is the fault of the medical team’. It is not,” said Carvalhal.
He added: “It’s down to bad luck, absolutely. If it was a muscular problem, I would tell you. Two or three (injured), that’s normal, but we don’t have them.
“Hunt (knee), Lee (hip), Boyd (shoulder), Hutchinson (knee), Forestieri (knee) and Fletcher (knee) - Lees is a degenerative tendon - so nothing, zero, related to the work.
“To miss seven important players like this, and I understand all the players are important and can play in the first XI, it’s the first time it has happened in my life.
“Last year was not like that, but similar, missing Hooper, Lee, Fletcher, Forestieri, Hutchinson, Lees.
“We tried to do our best, but we missed some points.
“But this is the worst period as a coach (concerning injuries). Usually our team doesn’t have too many injuries. But these aren’t injuries related to methodology. They are injuries which can happen to players over time.”
Forestieri’s continued recovery from his knee operation away from the club has raised some eyebrows amongst fans with some wondering why he can’t recuperate in Sheffield alongside the rest of the squad.
So far in the past couple of months, he has posted videos on social media showing him in Spain and more recently in Italy. However, Carvalhal says that it is not out of the ordinary for injured players to use medics outside of their respective clubs.
“He is not training, he is recovering,” said Carvalhal when asked why the forward is in Rome rather than South Yorkshire. “When he will be fit and ready for training he will come back, we expect him to be back in January if nothing is wrong with him.
“If you ask if this is normal, it is nothing that some players at other clubs don’t do.
“They have confidence in some doctors and want to be near them and they request to be near, not just the people they trust but who are good also. They are with abilities and they people that we trust and I know that he is working hard. He is a fighter and I believe he will be back in January.
“We get a weekly report on the player and after two months we get a report from the surgeon. I have seen the report, everything is in a good way. He can recover faster than normal, we believe he can recover in four months.”
Forestieri’s creativity has been a huge miss for Wednesday as they struggle to break down teams, not least in recent games which has seen their poor form force the Owls to 15th in the table, 10 points adrift of the play-off places.
And Carvalhal acknowledges Forestieri’s absence also shines a light on the lack of pace in the side.
“I agree (about the lack of pace), but we talk more about this because we don’t have Forestieri, because Forestieri has pace, he is aggressive with the ball,” said the head coach.
“If he is 100% fit we will not talk about pace because in the first year we didn’t talk about pace. The second season more because he was injured towards the end of the season. When he plays it is completely different.
“You can say to me, we don’t have Forestieri, we can achieve a different player.
“To achieve a player like Forestieri you must spend 10 or 15 million and under financial fair play we can’t do that.
“The injury, made an emergency. He went for surgery three or four days after the transfer window closed. If the surgery was one day before the transfer window, we needed a player with pace and some skill, absolutely I would have tried to get one.”