Wednesday great Carlton Palmer fears Carlos Carvalhal’s squad rotation policy will undermine the club’s hopes of securing a top-six finish this season.
Eyebrows were raised by Carvalhal’s decision to make wholesale changes in Monday’s loss at automatic promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough.
Not for the first time during the 2015/16 campaign, the Portuguese chief utilised his big squad, making six alterations at the Riverside Stadium. Three of the players who dropped out were Ross Wallace, top-scorer Fernando Forestieri and Atdhe Nuhiu, who has previously performed well against Boro.
Palmer, capped 18 times by England, has told The Star: “I think rotation is going to be Carlos’s undoing this season.
“No disrespect to Carlos; I am not knocking the guy, he has done a good job.
“But he should be doing a good job with the resources he has got. For me, Stuart Gray did an even better job with less resources. That’s a fact.
“For me, Wednesday are under-achieving. They are playing some good, attractive football but they should be doing better than what they are doing.
“Carlos has got to stop with the tinkering and go with his strongest side. The won comfortably on Boxing Day so there was no reason to rotate. They should have been thinking ‘we beat Birmingham at a canter, now let’s go to Middlesbrough and make a statement’.
“Wednesday had just won back-to-back home games so go again with your best team. If you need to make changes, make them at the break.
“Wednesday were strong in the second half against Middlesbrough because Carlos brought on his best players. They hit the woodwork and Fernando Forestieri had a great chance which he would normally bury. You could possibly say they were worthy of a draw in the end but they left it too late.
“If you are on a winning run, you go with your tried and tested and what has been getting you results.”
Palmer, who is set to release his maiden foray into the literary world next summer, is not a fan of rotation.
“I personally don’t agree with it and never have done,” he said. “If you are playing in the Premier League and you are playing Champions League or Europa League football, I understand you have to make some changes for the weekend. But not in the Championship. It is a tough league to play in but Stoke fielded the same side against Manchester United and Everton and won both games.
“When I was at Leeds and going for all three trophies in 1992, I would have gone ballistic if the manager had left me out. You want to play every week and keep that feelgood factor going.”