Entertaining the fans and giving them value for money was a key part of Carlos Carvalhal’s remit following his surprise appointment.
Thousands of Wednesdayites flocked to Hillsborough to see if the team could reproduce their stylish brand of football against an in-form Arsenal side. Over 31,000 Wednesdayites snapped up tickets hoping to witness a cup upset. They saw that and much, much more.
After knocking out one of the Premier League’s big guns, dispatching them comfortably three goals to nil, Carlos Carvalhal’s troops have earned yet more rave reviews.
“It was an important victory for the club and our self-confidence,” acknowledged Carvalhal, who confirmed Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan were taken off due to fatigue. “We had a full stadium and a new generation of fans who came to watch us. We also had the older generation who have lived through some fantastic moments of Sheffield Wednesday. The atmosphere was fantastic and they helped us from the first minute to last. It was an amazing night.”
It was Wednesday’s biggest home attendance since they beat Wycombe Wanderers to seal promotion to the Championship back in May 2012.
Bannan, who passed his driving test yesterday to cap an eventful 24 hours, said: “The atmosphere was brilliant. Before the kick-off, I heard the fans singing and I remember looking at the other lads to say, ‘This is unbelievable’.
“I had never heard anything like it. When you have a crowd behind us, that isn’t nice for visiting teams. It can frighten a lot of players.
“Arsenal had a lot of young players that might have been taken aback by that. It is one of the best I have played in front of, definitely up there. There were 35,000 there, total fanatics. It was brilliant to deliver a performance like that to the fans. We were the underdogs but fought unbelievably well.”
Bannan is enjoying life under Carvalhal.
The midfielder said: “I have played nine games and the manager has been brilliant. His ideas and the way he wants us to play is brilliant. Exactly as i want to play.
“The information he gives us before games is brilliant. You can’t go into a game and say that we didn’;t know what the opposition would be like.
“We know everything they will throw at us. He brings a relaxed air to things. We changed shape against Arsenal and only worked on it Monday.
“Not for too long, either, as we had played Friday and couldn’t do too much. But he knew all the players in the middle had played in it during their careers so we were fine. We settled in well.”