PRESS PASS – Carvalhal bullish over early season gripes

PRESS PASS – Carvalhal bullish over early season gripes

Carlos needs an afternoon nap. We need a history lesson.

A short and not very sweet press conference today.

With the transfer window closed and Saturday’s victory against Wigan already picked over, what was there to talk about?

The first line of questioning was to prise a reaction from Carvalhal to some of the criticism that’s been bubbling up about the squad and the style of play.

Carlos was in no mood for it, seeming especially edgy about how many midfielders he currently has in his pack.

He politely explained that when Bannan went off against Wigan, Ross Wallace had to move into a more central role to provide cover.

And he highlighted there are now two players for each position, allowing rotation and tactical switches.

Too many midfield options?

Too many midfield options?

I expected him to talk more about how Wednesday’s midfield options have been extended to cover width, pace, goals, plus defensive capability. But he didn’t.

He tried to joke it away with a reference to the squad’s four goalies and whether he should play all of them at the same time.

But a follow up about fans’ suggestions that Kieran Lee needs to score more or be dropped riled him enough to drop the smiles. “Please finish with this, it doesn’t make sense.”

Looking at Lee’s contribution to the pivotal moments on Saturday – and his 6 goals last season – it’s hard to disagree with the boss on that one.

There’s a checklist CC runs through at each press conference.


Fans, team spirit, and the opposition


One – a lack of strength in depth – has been ticked off for now following the latest round of transfers and loans. Next come the fans. Then the spirit, the ‘heart and soul’ of the players. He’s also big on respect for the opposition.

So today. The fans? He cannot say enough how important the supportive environment created by the fans is, especially when there is a mistake or as against Wigan we concede an early goal.

CC: The Kop helps us

CC: The Kop helps us (Image: The Sun)

And the team spirit? They played like ‘gladiators’ on Saturday. The performance in the last two games made him ‘very proud’.

And the opposition? Bristol City are ‘tough’ and ‘compact’. Their 3 -1 victory over Villa demonstrates they are a strong team.

For some reason, today Carvalhal really seemed to be going through the motions. Maybe it’s that other thing on his checklist – Championship fixture madness.

After playing on Saturday, today was a recovery session rather than full training for the players prior to Tuesday’s game. He’s unsure just now whether Bannan and Pudil, both subbed on Saturday, or João will be 100% fit to face Bristol City. The boss looked like he needed some recovery time too.


September: the phoney war?

The media reminded him of a couple of things today: we’ve not won two in a row since April; we’d taken a 4-1 beating from Bristol City towards the end of last season.

A big sigh from CC. “I don’t even remember the last match before Wigan. Just museums live in history. We live with the present and with the future.”

Bristol put four past Wednesday in our last meeting (Image: BBC)

Bristol put four past Wednesday in our last meeting (Image: BBC)

Maybe like us he recognises that if last season was anything to go by, early September is the phoney war before the promotion push starts in earnest.

We’re waiting for something and in the meantime if there’s nothing of substance to talk about he’ll just phone in a performance and/or we’ll just make it up.

Perhaps that’s why, if the message boards and phone-ins are to be believed, not everyone is convinced by this season’s prospects, team spirit or the manager’s tactics. How soon we forget.

On the 12th of September 2015 Wednesday lost 3 – 1 away to Burnley and were 19th in the Championship table. Three days later a goalless draw at Bolton began a nine game unbeaten run that saw us start November in 7th place.

One year on, is any of this relevant?

At kick off against Bristol City on Tuesday evening, Wednesday will be 16th in a league that most agree is considerably tougher than last year. We’ll start the match three points off 6th place. Not too shabby, all things considered.

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Images: SWFC, unless stated

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