Nobody can deny that Sheffield Wednesday have improved this season.
The statistics suggest the Owls are a better, more consistent outfit.
Wednesday have picked up more wins home and away than they managed last time around. And with three fixtures remaining, the Owls have already amassed a point extra (75) than they achieved during the 2015/16 campaign.
Have they played attractive, free-flowing football like they did for the majority of last term? In the main, no.
Have they taken teams apart as they did in Carlos Carvalhal’s first year in charge? Very rarely.
Nonetheless, Wednesday are edging closer to achieving their ultimate objective. A play-off berth is in their hands heading into the final stretch.
Carvalhal told The Star: “The most important thing is we are winning games. We are not here to break records. We are to achieve our goals.
“It is not important whether we have more or less points than last season.
“We are in a hard competition for the play-offs.
“The competition is more hard than last season so we focus on the Derby game.
“We have three finals left and we must focus on each game.”
The Owls have a two-point cushion over seventh-placed Leeds United thanks to their Easter Monday success at Queens Park Rangers. Left-sided player Adam Reach, pictured left, and Daniel Pudil registered as Wednesday edged an entertaining three-goal contenst.
Carvalhal’s multi-cultural squad will be targeting a fifth straight win when they welcome bogey side Derby County to Hillsborough this Saturday.
“The reality is we have progressed from last season but there have been parts of the season where we could have achieved more points,” said Carvalhal. “A lot of things have happened over the season. Not everything has been perfect.
“We have felt difficulties in periods of the season but we have tried to achieve points. We are happy with how we have done. This competition is a marathon and let’s see what position we will achieve.”
Wednesday have a lousy recent record against Derby. The Owls have failed to win any of their last 17 meetings, a run dating back to April 2006.
Carvalhal said: “Derby will be a tough game but let’s see what happens.
“We have focused game by game since the beginning of the season and I think that’s the best way.”
The big talking point of the reverse fixture was referee James Linington’s decision to not award Wednesday an early penalty after Derby defender Richard Keogh, below, appeared to handle Reach’s shot on the line.
Carvalhal described Lington’s call as a “very, very poor” and branded it the “worst decision in the Championship so far”.
The Rams made the most of their good fortune by securing maximum points courtesy of goals by Cyrus Christie and Alex Pearce.