Combative midfielder Sam Hutchinson says his impressive form and improved fitness levels are down to one man - Carlos Carvalhal.
By and large, the 26-year-old has stayed out of the treatment room, featuring in 16 out of Wednesday’s 23 fixtures this season.
Hutchinson, out of contract at the end of the season, told The Star: “It is 100 per cent down to the gaffer. He is the only manager that has pushed me to train every day. Even though some days I am wanting to come off. He has played me Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.
“I was always confident in my ability. I was at a club for 17 years at the top-flight, but with my fitness, I was never confident. If the physio told me to take a couple of days off, I’d always do it. I thought that was the best pattern.
“But now I want to do more and more and the gaffer is reining me in. He’s very good and looks after me. He brought me out after a couple of games to rest me and I owe it to the gaffer, his staff and the physios.”
Having served a two-match suspension for collecting 10 yellow cards, Hutchinson was recalled to the starting line-up in Tuesday’s cup loss to Stoke City. It was only Wednesday’s second defeat in 15 outings.
Hutchinson, who insists he is “very happy” at Hillsborough, said: “The players have to go out and do what he [Carlos] tells us to do and he sets it up. It starts from him, but finishes with the players. At Charlton, we didn’t do our half of the bargain and ended up coming up short. We prepare exactly the same as the other games, but didn’t do it on the pitch.
“He deserves big credit and him and his staff have been very good for us. We’ve completely changed the philosophy and become much more professional and i think it’s good for us.”