Sheffield Wednesday: Owls boss defends Dons media snub

Carlos Carvalhal
Carlos Carvalhal

It takes something extraordinary to happen for Carlos Carvalhal to duck his post-match press duties.

In the 50 matches the Portuguese chief has been in charge of the Owls, Carvalhal has missed precisely two.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

But following Tuesday’s heated clash with MK Dons, the former Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas chief asked Wednesday coach Lee Bullen to front up to the media. Bullen also deputised after Wednesday battled back from a goal down to beat Birmingham City last February.

“I try do my best during the games with my behaviour towards refs, even though I am a little emotional,” Carvalhal told The Star at the club’s Middlewood Road training ground yesterday.

“But what happened against MK Dons with the referee and the fourth official made me very nervous. I was afraid if I spoke afterwards I would say what I heard, what happened, and I would probably be punished. I don’t want that.

“But I didn’t like what I saw in the game, with the fourth official and the referee. Since before the game, I didn’t like what happened. I was upset.”

Although Carvalhal had no arguments over Ross Wallace’s red card in midweek, he has expressed his frustration over two key refereeing decisions which he felt went against his side.

Star striker Fernando Forestieri was harshly cautioned for the third time in the space of two months for diving after a robust challenge by Dons defender Kyle McFadzean. Forestieri also had a strong penalty appeal turned down by referee Darren Handley in the closing stages of the contest.

On Wallace’s dismissal, Carvalhal said: “Ross cannot do that. I have spoke to him and the group.

“You have to be professional, and these situations cannot be allowed to happen at any point in the season, but especially now.

“I have spoke to Ross and he understands, he agrees with me absolutely.

“But the problem is when the situation started. It started because again Fernando goes one-to-one with a defender and receives a kick, actually two kicks, the left boot then the right.

“The referee gave a yellow card to Fernando, and that created a diversion with a MK Dons player, who was playing with the ball, and wouldn’t give it back.

“Of course, the referee is not guilty that Ross was punished - that’s his fault - but this situation appeared because the original decision of the ref was very poor, again.

“It’s something we don’t understand.

“The fans sometimes say ‘Carlos, the club are not doing nothing’ because Forestieri did not dive.”

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Wednesday have voiced their concerns over the standard of officiating to the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). They called them four times yesterday morning and received a response after Carvalhal’s press briefing.

“We use the correct channels,” said Carvalhal. “After the Hull game, we called for someone from the referees group to come talk to us.

“We talked with him, and he agreed with us 100 per cent.

“He promised to us that he would talk to the referees and don’t use Fernando’s image, just analyse the situation.

“Now we have this incident. If they have tried to prevent this situation happening again, why is it happening again? It’s very bad for the club, bad for the image of the player, and we are not happy.

“It’s very serious. We don’t understand and we need an explanation.

“We want to believe this is normal, but this incident (on Tuesday) was so obvious.

“Are we waiting for someone to break the leg of Fernando before someone does anything? Are they waiting for something serious to happen to him before they take it seriously?

“After the booking, we had another one-on-one when the opponent does not touch the ball. So we have a penalty or Fernando has dived again.

“The referee was five metres away and in our opinion it was a clear penalty. These are facts, it’s reality.

“This situation is just unbelievable to us.

“I think our fans deserve an explanation on how we are trying to protect Fernando.

“But there are limits, and we are at that limit now.”

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Carvalhal, who recalled Jeremy Helan from his loan spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday, is refusing to panic despite their three-match winless streak.

“We had a very strong reaction against Ipswich, which I felt we deserved to win,” he said. “Just one point was unlucky.

“Against MK Dons, we hit the woodwork four times, pressed MK Dons hard in the second half. Even when Ross went off, we were still thinking we could win the game.

“We are disappointed about the score, but very happy with the performance and attitude of our players.”

Now Carvalhal is focusing all his energy on tomorrow’s televised trip to promotion rivals Derby County, kick-off 12;30pm.

“Derby are one of the best teams in the competition,” he said. “They have good organisation, a good team and players. They are in a good moment too as they have won their last four games, and are scoring a lot of goals.

“We like this type of challenge. We are focused on this game. What we did in our last two games gave everybody the clear message that we are here to fight for the three points.”

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