PRESS PASS | Cavalier Carvalhal

PRESS PASS | Cavalier Carvalhal

Bouncebackability

 

That epic comeback on Tuesday night seems to have put a spring in everyone’s step.

Glenn Loovens stepped up in front of the media today, and he’ll probably take to the pitch at St Andrew’s on Saturday as Carlos plugs the defensive gap caused by Sam Hutchinson’s one match suspension.

Wednesday had appealed the red card but learned just moments before the press conference that there’d be no reprieve. No great surprise when you look at the incident.

The appeal was based on the referee stating the sending off was for hand ball, which was disputed. The fact Hutch dived head first into an on-rushing striker was less debatable.

To be fair to him, as Carlos pointed out, he was trying to cover for Lee’s mistake in giving the ball away. “It was a red card for trying to help the team.”

So the ban stands and it seems Loovens’ recovery is well timed.

Having carried injuries all through last season, the captain was keen to give himself time before entering the fray this time round despite finding it tough to be on the sidelines.

Loovens is looking forward to featuring again

Loovens is looking forward to featuring again

Carvalhal remains quite cavalier about conceding goals.

“We don’t prepare a team to keep a clean sheet, we prepare a team to win.”

With no clean sheets in five games, many fans will be hoping Glenn “I’ll take 1 nil all day” Loovens can use his experience and authority to tighten up the back line.

Which doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy the epic nature of Tuesday’s win over Bristol City,

“Sometimes this is better than winning 5 nil for me. You win in the last minute there’s such a buzz, such an atmosphere all together. The players, staff, the fans, it was great… It was unbelievable”.

 

Five lessons learned for Carvalhal?

 

Listening to Carvalhal and watching his team, five big lessons of the campaign are there for all to see.

There were times last season when a sending off meant a match or two where the only cover on offer would be from someone playing out of position.

Just look back at that critical period from late February when Forestieri served out his ban.

Wednesday have a sense of belief again

Wednesday have a sense of belief again

We all have our preferences and love to debate relative merits but there are now at least two options for most positions; if Loovens doesn’t step in for Hutchinson for the full 90 minutes on Saturday, we have Sasso.

Second, the Wembley hangover is being edged out by a new sense of belief.

The past three games have seen us claim seven points from losing positions. So we can manage a fight back.

This seems to please Carvalhal from his mission to entertain point of view.

“Any stadium we play if the score is open nobody will go out of the stadium, our fans and our opponents, because they believe that Sheffield Wednesday can score in the last second.”

Next, while we’ve not seen much of Adam Reach, he has shown the makings of an elegant and combative addition to the squad.

It’s not often the boss singles out an individual for praise over the rest of the team but today he almost purred, “The ball is not strange to him, it’s like it belongs to him.”

Although Carvalhal sounds slightly astonished that Wednesday played 55 games last season, whereas a club back home in Portugal would expect to play 35 max. The good news is he loves it.

“Everything is fantastic, the stadiums, the fans, the people, the players, the mentality.”

Finally, how good is it to shout yourself hoarse on a Tuesday night? Wednesday still need to find the balance and consistency to keep winning home games and start picking up points away as well.

Which brings us on to Saturday’s opponents.

 

Birmingham City

 

Birmingham hovered in or around the top six all last season, finally finishing tenth.

We took six points off them. Given recent events, the away match back in February might sound a little familiar.

A goal down at half time, the Owls ended on top with two goals from Hooper that might have been described as late (77 and 79 minutes) before Lee redefined ‘late’ against Bristol.

Hooper’s goals settled our last meeting BBC)

Hooper’s goals settled our last meeting (BBC)

The match is remembered for two reasons. First, the infamous YouTube of a Brum corporate hospitality box besieged by jubilant Wednesdayites.

And second, as the moment many fans started to believe we might actually do it, we might actually finish in the top six.

I asked Loovens whether the players had that same feeling.

“I just remember it was a very, very close game; a very hard fought game.

“I remember it was terrible weather…

“As a player you always feel you’ve got to win, you always feel you’ve got to do well. It’s more for the [fans] that they believe, but as a team we always believe we can do well.”

And this year? With the Blues currently six places and one point above us, Carvalhal expects Gary Rowett’s side to show spirit, quality on the ball and physicality to shape a tough contest for both teams.

Returning to one of Carvalhal’s favourite gripes, will we be playing the Tuesday or the Saturday Birmingham?

Our opponents might be expected to put on an attacking display in front of their home crowd (and the Sky cameras) on Saturday, on the back of a goalless draw with Reading early in the week.

Perhaps ‘gripe’ is unfair. It seems more like a fascination with a league where players and teams adopt different defensive and attacking styles from week to week. He knows because he and the coaching staff analyse every opponent, every player and every move.

Carvalhal believes any team, including his own, can be fantastic on Saturday and poor on Tuesday for a host of reasons.

From tiredness, to playing opponents with different styles, to the referees’ willingness to let the game flow.

According to Carvalhal, “All the opponents are very strong and we know accidents can happen. I can never sit in the second half and relax and think it is done.”

We know how he feels.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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Angela

Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images: SWFC, unless stated


2 Comments

  1. Well written.Sounds like a proper Wednesday fan….

  2. Thanks for another enjoyable and informative report Angela.
    I like the quote from Carlos about Adam Reach. As a spectator it’s always so good to see players who the ball doesn’t seem to be strange to. Sadly (and surprisingly for professional players) not always the case!
    I’m commenting after the Birmingham game yesterday. More bouncebackability required!
    For future reference, it would be interesting to know what was going through Kieron Westwood’s mind as he fell to his knees and slid directly in front of Clayton Donaldson’s legs during Clayton’s determined run to absolutely nowhere.

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