Sheffield Wednesday: Carvalhal reassured over training ground improvements

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal
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For Carlos Carvalhal, Sheffield Wednesday are very much a work in progress on and off the field.

The charming, charismatic head coach has been reassured by owner Dejphon Chansiri that more cash will be ploughed into upgrading their training ground facilities in the long-term.

Marco Matias

Marco Matias

The Star understands the Owls have spent close to £500,000 on revamping their Middlewood Road complex over the last six months.

A new inflatable air dome, featuring a new ‘3G’ articifical pitch, has been built and some of the outside pitches have been ripped up and relaid. The dome is mainly used by the club’s academy.

Wednesday are also waiting on planning permission to extend their gym.

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But despite the redevelopments, the club’s first-team squad were forced to train at Hillsborough on Wednesday due to the bad weather in South Yorkshire affecting their pitches at Middlewood.

Carvalhal told The Star: “The pitches are very bad. We trained at Hillsborough on Wednesday because it was impossible to train on our pitches.

“We are trying to do our best. We know we don’t have the perfect conditions.

“We know that the chairman has only been at the club a short time so he can’t do everything in one minute. What he has done is absolutely fantastic.

“One of the things that the club will need to improve in the future will be the training ground.

“We don’t have quantity or quality. We know that and it is not an excuse. With the conditions we have, we have quality training.

“But to be a club at the top level, we know the facilities are not where we need them to be at.”

Chansiri is acutely aware the Owls’ training ground needs to improve, according to Carvalhal.

“He knows; the chairman is caring about that but he can’t do everything in one minute like we can’t build a team in a few weeks or months,” he stressed.

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Wednesday have been based at their Middlewood site for over 30 years but Carvalhal refused to be drawn on whether they plan on relocating in the near future. You could argue that they have outgrown their facilities but it is probably something the Owls’ hierarchy will reassess again in the summer.

All Carvalhal is focusing his energies on right now is making sure the team maintain their focus and fine start to 2016.

Wednesday have moved into the Championship’s top-six after winning four out of their six fixtures this year.

Publicly Carvalhal is reluctant to admit Wednesday are serious contenders to finish in the play-offs but the form guide and table suggests they will take some stopping.

“We know that people are excited but myself, the players and staff all have their feet on the floor,” he said. “We don’t want to lose our focus.

“We are concentrating on the next match. We are focusing on the fundamentals and we must make sure we run and fight a lot and play good football to win on Saturday.”

Brentford travel to Hillsborough, having lost five out of their last seven matches.

Carvalhal insisted: “It will be very tough. They are a very dangerous team.

“Brentford like the ball. They have changed their style a little bit from the first part of the season. They have another coach and some different players.

“We will be ready for a difficult game. We have a lot of respect for them.

“But we are playing in front of our fans and are in good shape and full of confidence. We will try to create a strategy to win the game and we are confident about Saturday.”

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A big source of encouragement for Carvalhal and Wednesday is the club’s outstanding results in their own backyard. They boast one of the best home records in the division, winning nine out of their 15 matches. Only Middlesbrough have left Hillsborough with maximum points this campaign and the Owls are currently on a 14-match unbeaten home run.

“I don’t care about records whether that’s coach of the month or player of the week,” he said. “I don’t care what will happen in three weeks.

“I don’t lose my focus on historical things. I’m interested in the next game.

“We are not thinking about records. We are thinking about what will be the best team to win the game on Saturday.”

Carvalhal has explained why he gave run-outs to Liam Palmer, Marco Matias and Modou Sougou in Monday’s development match at Hull. Matias registered in the Owls’ 2-0 success.

He said: “It is not a punishment. It is the exact opposite. It was good for them to get 90 minutes under their belts.

“Before, we have played Michael Turner and Tom Lees in these games and in the future we will play another three.”

Aiden McGeady’s arrival and Matias’s return to fitness has increased competition for places but Carvalhal welcomes a selection poser.

“We have options,” said Carvalhal. “Internal competition is very high at the moment. We have got a headache of trying to choose the players but that is a good thing for me.

“When a player has an internal fight for a position, he knows he must be at a high level. If not, he can lose the position. It means all of them must push each other a lot.

“They are all working fantastic. If I could, I would put them all in the squad.”

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