EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Carlos Carvalhal as head coach closes in on Sheffield Wednesday landmark

Dejphon Chansiri, left, and Carlos Carvalhal
Dejphon Chansiri, left, and Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal will reach another big milestone when he takes charge of his 100th match as Owls boss on Good Friday.

He will be bidding to bring up his century in style with three points over Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City at Hillsborough.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

Carvalhal led Wednesday to their highest-placed finish in 16 years last season, earning plenty of admirers for the side’s brand of open and attractive football.

The Owls qualified for the Championship play-offs with a match to spare and booked their place in the final after seeing off Brighton and Hove Albion over two legs. Wednesday were outplayed in the Wembley final, losing 1-0 to Yorkshire rivals Hull City.

For more news from Hillsborough click here

Expectations soared at Hillsborough following a big summer recruitment drive but a string of injuries and a lack of consistency have impacted their results during the 2016/17 campaign

Owls press conference where Dom Howson interviews Carlos Carvalhal

Owls press conference where Dom Howson interviews Carlos Carvalhal

Nonetheless, the Owls are in good shape to clinch a top-six spot after collecting a seven points out of a possible nine on offer since the last international break.

In an exclusive interview with Dom Howson, Carvalhal discusses his 22 months at the helm and gives an insight into his relationship with chairman Dejphon Chansiri.

Dom Howson (DH): How do you reflect on your time in charge?

Carlos Carvalhal (CC): I’m very proud. We have changed a lot of things in the club. We have changed the philosophy and way the team plays. I think Sheffield Wednesday play a completely different style compared to the past.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

We have done a lot of very positive things and achieved some fantastic results.

I remember the cup games against Newcastle and Arsenal last year and we reached the semi-final and final of the play-offs. We played great against Newcastle last weekend. It is a big pleasure to work at a massive club with absolutely fantastic fans. The players are fantastic personalities and I work with an excellent chairman. He is all the time with me and my staff and that is very important to achieve positives in 100 matches. I have expectations for the future and we will try our best to achieve something good.

DH: Have you thought about the next 100 matches?

CC: Let’s see. You never know what can happen in the future. I don’t think too much about the future.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

What is more important to me is that the chairman, the players and fans are with me. The period I have felt okay is when I have confidence of this triangle. If I feel that one day the confidence from one of these parts of the triangle is gone or has got smaller, I will probably move myself.

DH: You mentioned the triangle. How important is that if you are going to be successful as a manager?

CC: It is important. At this moment, I have received good signals from the players, the chairman and fans.

It was not hard to win the confidence of the players. I feel they have always been with me.

I know I have the confidence of the chairman. It is clear he is behind me and I have the backing of the majority of fans of Sheffield Wednesday, who trust in my work. There will always be five per cent of the fans, even when you are in first position, who will not be happy because they expect us to have scored 100 goals and have 95 points. It is normal in football and I understand it.

But there is pressure in the Championship and it is not easy to stabilise a team. It is very hard.

Carlos Carvalhal and Dejphon Chansiri

Carlos Carvalhal and Dejphon Chansiri

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DH: How much has the chairman’s backing helped in changing the culture of the club?

CC: The most important thing is the confidence he gives me. I work with him and he trusts in me. We speak face-to-face and that is very important.

He’s the best chairman I’ve ever worked for. He has been absolutely fantastic. He’s a very good personality. He’s a fantastic man and learning to be a better and better chairman at the club. He has changed the club completely in his time at Wednesday.

DH: Has this season been more difficult with everything you have had to contend with?

CC: No. The hardest thing to me has been the parts of the season where we have missed players and played different football. That has been hard.

People must also check and look at other clubs and see the position they are in at the moment. It is not easy to stabilise a team in a good position in the Championship.

DH: Do you feel you have proven people wrong who questioned your appointment?

CC: I am happy we have stabilised the team. I think the average lifespan of a Championship manager is one year and three months but we have been in a good position all the time. We have been around the fifth, sixth and seventh positions over the last year. Look at other clubs who have had a fantastic season one year, finishing sixth, and then the next year they are down and not in a good position.

It is not easy to stabilise a team, stay with the pressure and win all the games to be in a good position. The most important thing is we have stabilised the team.

Carvalhal’s Owls stats:

Biggest win: Norwich (5-1)

Heaviest defeat: Bristol City (1-4)

Win ratio: 45.5%

Points per game: 1.64

Did you know: Carvalhal is the first Owls boss to win 13+ home league matches in consecutive seasons since Eric Taylor - 1955-57

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