Carvalhal prepared for Yorkshire derby fight

Carvalhal prepared for Yorkshire derby fight

Despite already experiencing first-hand the intensity of a Sporting-Benfica ‘Derby de Lisboa’ and the ferociousness of an Istanbul derby between Besiktas and Galatasaray during his much-travelled managerial career, Carlos Carvalhal will savour his first taste of the fierce white rose affair on Saturday lunchtime when his Owls do battle with Leeds United at Elland Road.

The West-meets-South Yorkshire clash will be the perfect opportunity for CC’s men to redeem themselves following on from Wednesday night’s poor showing against Reading that yielded a very fortunate point, despite the predominantly lacklustre display during the 90 minutes.

And, with the Owls gracing the Sky television cameras for the first time this term and around 1,200 Wednesdayites making the short trip up the M1, there’s added incentive for Wednesday to put on a successful showing, something Carvalhal is undoubtedly keen for:

Carlos hopes for a positive reaction from his troops

Carlos hopes for a positive reaction from his troops

“These games are a question of attitude and fight”, he said.

“The players have had experiences like this in the past and we will be ready. We’re just focused on the game, improving and making sure we are ready to fight for the three points.”

The prospect of spearheading the quest for local pride in his first derby encounter on British shores certainly doesn’t phase the Portuguese head coach as he is fully aware of the importance of the insight his core players possess in this kind of fixture.

Centre half Tom Lees looks set to take the field in this lock of Yorkshire-heavyweight horns for a sixth time while Ross Wallace knows all too well the importance of a derby, having competed in Old Firm, Tyne-Wear and Cotton-Mills derbies down the years, meaning Carvalhal has no qualms in that respect for tomorrow’s fixture:

“We have a lot of players in the squad who are the main part of the group who are British and have been here a long time so have a lot of experience in these types of games”, insisted CC.

“If we don’t have this part then I would be worried but when we have this part with a lot of experience in the Championship it is not a problem to me.”

With Keiren Westwood definitely ruled out and Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu nursing slight injuries making them 50/50 for a starting berth at Elland Road, coupled with the lively cameo appearance from goalscorer Modou Sougou in the week, CC definitely has food for thought in terms of selecting his next starting XI:

“Westwood is out for sure; we believe he will be back soon but not for this game,” Carvalhal confirmed.

“He is a fantastic keeper but I have full confidence in our others.”

Sougou staked his claim for starting slot

Sougou staked his claim for a starting slot on Wednesday

“Also, Sougou is ready, he is a player who can change a game. He did very well last match and he will be ready for whenever we ask.”

Carvalhal’s overseas experience of these kind of games on the continent are certainly something that whets the 49-year old’s appetite as the anticipation held by the tens of thousands that will descend upon Elland Road tomorrow is something the former Sporting and Braga coach undoubtedly shares himself:

“I like this derby environment, it’s for these moments why you are in football”, he stated.

“I tell my players to go out there, be confident and enjoy this environment. When you look back on your career you remember first those big games.”

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One Comment

  1. Excellent blog from Jonathan, as usual.

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