So far so good for Sheffield Wednesday and Carlos Carvalhal.
The Owls have played with attacking flair, imagination and positive intent in their opening two fixtures. That aggressive, entertaining brand of football owner Dejphon Chansiri demanded was there for all to see against Bristol City and Mansfield.
Players are playing with a smile on their face, have been given a licence to express themselves and enjoying each other’s success. They have put the ‘opposites’, which Carvalhal charmingly keeps referring to their opponents as, under the cosh, exploiting their weaknesses!
Goals are now coming from all departments. Even Tom Lees and Jose Semedo have got in on the act! It is very early days but Jack Hunt, Ross Wallace, Marco Matias, Lewis McGugan, Alex Lopez and Lucas Joao already look like shrewd purchases.
There are still plenty of areas Wednesday need to improve. They need to sharpen up their finishing and learn from the soft goal conceded versus Mansfield to push on but it’s been the ideal start to Carvalhal’s reign. That, though, is all it is. A start.
Things can change very quickly in planet football and we are still in the first week of the new season. As Carvalhal has pointed out, the Championship is a marathon competition. It is very easy to get carried away after two good performances.
In 2014, Nottingham Forest made a blistering start and topped the table after seven matches. By February, they had sacked manager Stuart Pearce following a woeful run of form and their much-vaunted team finished in 14th position, one place lower than Wednesday. who had spent significantly less money on players and wages. While Forest under-achieved, the Owls punched above their weight.
Make no mistake, we will find out what this Owls team is really made of at Ipswich tomorrow. In the last two years, the Tractor Boys are arguably the most improved team in the league. They have got some serious firepower up front and will fancy their chances of challenging for the play-offs again.
If the Owls go a goal behind early at Ipswich, how will this new-look team cope in the face of adversity? How will their growing foreign contingent find the hostile atmosphere at Portman Road?
Ipswich will be the first major test and hurdle Wednesday have got to overcome.