Carlos Carvalhal, understandably, cut a dejected figure after Sheffield Wednesday’s last competitive match.
You could have forgiven the charismatic Owls chief for taking an extended break following the team’s defeat in the Championship Play-Off final last May.
But Carvalhal quickly turned his thoughts to making the team stronger after their Wembley woe. The pain of missing out on promotion to the Premier League inspired the summer rebuild.
Head coach Carvalhal, who has been active in the transfer market, bringing in four new players, said: “We started a new season the day after Wembley. We have been preparing for it and trying to bring in players who will improve the team.
“We can’t say we will forget Wembley because it was a special day. We can’t forget those emotional moments after the final whistle. They will be with us forever.”
Carvalhal has laughed off suggestions that he is still haunted by the memory of the final, saying: “It would have been hard for us if we had finished seventh or eighth, stayed out of the play-offs, gone on our holidays and watched the final on TV.
“Everything last season was positive. I can’t see any negatives.
“We changed the philosophy, playing a completely different style. Sometimes, when you change the philosophy, you need three or four years but we changed it in months. We chose the players very well and the players were great.”
Optimism is high at Hillsborough as the Owls prepare to host Aston Villa in their opening league fixture this Sunday, kick-off 4:30pm.
“When you talk about expectations, everybody knows we must be very, very strong,” conceded Carvalhal. “We did something fantastic last season and we want to continue our work.
“But it is a very hard competition with hard competitors. Some of them will be more ready than us but it doesn’t mean we can’t beat them on the pitch.
“We want all the people to go to Hillsborough and like the good football that we play. I think everyone will enjoy this season.”