PRESS | Carlos comes out fighting

PRESS | Carlos comes out fighting

It’s the start of a new season.

The time every manager wants his best players fit, in good form and raring to go.

Bad news for OwlsAlive then that they start the season without their first choice press-passer Angela at the helm, and have to make do with the equivalent of playing Daniel Pudil in central defence; sending yours truly along for my first ever press conference.

We’d been kept waiting a while and as I listened to the background hum I watched the world go by out of the wall to wall windows.

Liam Palmer and David Jones on charity duty, posing for photos for Weston Park Hospital; Joe Wildsmith and Sean Clare sharing a joke as they leave the complex; the next generation of academy recruits being put through their paces on the 3G pitch.

The sky suddenly fell grey and drizzle began spotting and rolling off the heavily waxed luxury cars parked just outside – watching it I ended up in one of those day-dream type trances where your eyes fix on something.

I was distracted from my trance by the opening of doors and shuffling of bums on seats as George Boyd appeared in the new press ‘hatch’.

 

New beginnings 

 

A friendly smile and relaxed demeanour, Boyd presented himself well and answered questions at length and honestly. He spoke of having a good preseason and the trip to Portugal going well.

Quite early on he mentioned that Wednesday see themselves in a group of eight or nine teams battling it out for promotion… a theme that would continue throughout the press conference.

A wily Dom Howson pressed George to name the other teams he sees as being in the mix but Boyd kept those cards close to his chest.

He did however mention the money that Villa had spent, and a couple of last season’s hopefuls – Fulham and Reading – as teams he expects to do well.

George’s experience and the amount of promotions under his belt was a further talking point.

Boyd takes questions

When asked about whether Wednesday had the required attributes he was obviously optimistic, mentioning the great team spirit at the club, “a good bunch of lads” who have welcomed him in to the group.

He knew this would be the case though after talking to ex-teammate David Jones before joining.

He went on to say how we play differently to the way Burnley did in their promotion season, with more technically gifted players and playing a high pressing game.

So he believes we have a squad capable of winning promotion, but what will his roll be?

“To put it on a plate for these boys.

“You won’t find six better strikers at any club in the league, hopefully two or three of them will get 20 plus goals”, was his rather ambitious aim for the season.

Acknowledging the strength in depth, especially in the forward positions, he seemed well aware that he isn’t always guaranteed a starting berth in the team – stating that it’s great for the manager to have so many options.

 

Fantastic expectations

 

When asked about coming in to a team where the expectation is promotion, Boyd acknowledged the pressure that the club is now under.

The Championship is a competitive league where anyone can beat anyone, an exciting league with some very good teams.

“There’ll be ups and downs over 46 games but at the end we aim to come out on top.”

Despite his season in the Premier League, George confirmed that he’d kept up with developments in the EFL, watching the highlights every Saturday night.

Boyd made 36 appearances for Burnley last season

Away from on-the-pitch chat, Boyd’s family life was brought up… his two boys being football mad.

So are they little Wednesdayites?

A cheeky answer and maybe a little tongue in cheek: “Yeah, they’re just waiting for the new kits to come out. They came to their first game last week and loved it, it’s a bit bigger than Burnley so a new experience for them.”

His slot ended with the all-important question about the initiation karaoke.

Perhaps it says a lot about his personality this his choice was Toploader’s Dancing in the Moonlight – positive, care-free and optimistic… let’s hope he still feels this way come May.

Boyd left the room after a few handshakes and photos as the gathered press saved their videos and audio clips, and prepared themselves for Carlos.

 

Amazing revelations

 

Our chief soon entered the room, popping his head jokingly around the door.

“Hello! Hello, hello everyone! [dramatic waving] New seats, it’s nice. Better position, yes? Better. It’s improving,” casting his eyes around the refurbished press room “…Okay. I am ready. Let’s start.”

Carlos was in a determined, passionate, focused mood and needed no prompting or questions as he launched into his opening gambit.

Carvalhal addresses the press

A rallying call.

“A very clear message to everyone at Sheffield Wednesday, especially the fans, is that I’m to focus this time on our time in the Championship.

“This is not a time to talk too much about kits; about stripes; about players that we don’t have and that we wish.

“It’s time to talk about the players that we have. It’s time to talk about the confidence of the team. It’s time to talk about the things that are important.

Fight for the badge

“The most important thing to me, and to us, is the badge.”

He pats the crest on his training gear, conveniently positioned over his heart.

“It is the badge that is important. It does not matter if it has more blue, or less blue shirt.

“It is not important if we get Messi to come or Ronaldo to come also, but it is important we give confidence to the players that we have.”

It was a rousing opening speech during which he went on to talk about fight and passion.

 

For the shirt

 

Fighting for the badge from the first minute to the last.

Carlos had riled himself up for this… may have even rehearsed it.

It was powerful stuff though. You could feel the energy in the room lift and the tired journos sat up and listened intently, almost mesmerised by the animated Portuguese as he spoke with intensity and purpose.

“We can’t promise to win promotion.

“We can’t promise to get in the playoffs… What we can promise is that we will fight, absolutely sure, very hard, and I will guarantee this this with all my players.

“Let’s focus on creating a positive atmosphere around the players, a positive atmosphere around Hillsborough.”

Carlos again stressed the importance of a good atmosphere

This is something that Carlos expects the fans to play a part in.

It seems that he is acutely aware that the vocal minority have the ability to spread negativity around the club like a cancer.

He himself stayed away from Twitter last season after some abuse, and it emerged last night that even Chansiri’s children are getting some abuse on social media from the knuckle-draggers of cyber space.

So this passionate rallying call is aimed at the silent majority.

He stated that we will see the positivity at Preston and praised that backing of the 5700 fans that are travelling over the hills to watch them in the opening fixture.

Carlos went on to attribute the club’s achievements over the past two seasons to this positivity… on reflection this was a warning.

As much as positivity breeds success, negativity breeds failure.

Win or bust?

After this five minute opening statement Carlos was met with his first rather pointed question from Rob Staton.

“Carlos, do you HAVE to win promotion this year?”

It was a prompt for Carvalhal to show us just how good he is at avoiding answering the question.

“I have to work very hard. I will try to win every game. I try to win the first game and after that I will think, think about the players and think about how to win the next game. That is what I must do.

“Nobody can promise to win every game. There are ten teams in this competition with the same ability to us, with the same ambitions to be in the top two… two will be promoted, four will be in the playoffs and six – realises his mathematical faux pas – erm…. four teams with the expectations for top 2 will not be in the playoffs.

“Let’s see what WE can do.”

Further questions about pressure and expectations led Carlos to discuss the improvements to the club over the past two seasons, improvements to the pitch, the facilities, the players.

He spoke about marginal gains – if the players improve a little more, if he as a manager improves a little more, if the fitness and injury situation improves a little more, then promotion can be achieved.

 

Saturday

 

When asked about the Preston game he gave the stock response about respecting the team.

They have a good manager, they play good football.

The fact that we have not won there in his tenure means that he knows it will be a good challenge and that we will fight (there’s that word again) for the three points.

Carlos is winless at Deepdale

He was then asked about the possibility of bringing in a player before Saturday. He harked back to his earlier point that it’s what we have and what we can do that is important… not what we don’t have.

We have a complete squad, all the players are fit for the weekend except Liam Palmer, so it is very difficult to pick a team for Saturday.

All players are ready and training well, so there are no excuses… Let’s fight, let’s not think about the things that we wish, but focus on the game.

Staton wasn’t going to let Carlos get away that easily though, and pointed out that by the second game last season, Hutchinson was having to deputise at centre back.

Was Carlos not concerned about this? Carvalhal’s retort was based in fact: “We had the third best defence in the league last season. We had 15, 16 clean sheets. The season before we had 17 clean sheets.

Key player this weekend

“This was achieved with these players. Of course we have some things to correct, our quality at set pieces, but in terms of numbers there is no panic.

“We have players who can cover, but having cover is not the same as having the player of that position.

“Daniel Pudil can cover, last season Sam did the cover, it is not ideal but at the same time, no reason to panic.

“Our defence last season was the third best in the competition, so why are we panicking?”

Not exactly the answer Staton wanted… nor one that Owls fans will want to hear.

 

Options?

 

The following question was also one close to Owls fans’ hearts, the question of pace within the team, with Carlos again skirting around the answer.

“If you are asking about pace with the ball, we have that with Fernando, with Joao… Marco has pace, Jack has pace.

“If you are asking about athleticism, no we do not have that. What we have are players who can play with pace and the ball at their feet, not players who run around a lot and leave the ball behind.”

Questioning turned again to the competition, about the quality of the Championship and FFP.

Carlos reiterated his view on this (not agreeing with punishments being made a season after the breech) and that he will work within his means.

Questions were also asked about teams ‘finding us out’ last season, and about a plan B.

Carlos pointing out the occasions where we finished games with four strikers on the pitch, along with attaching midfielders and attacking full backs; he cracked a joke about replacing Westwood with a striker to help get a result.

The session ended in a similar manner to the way it started.

Carlos reaffirming that “I am resposnsible if the players are to play with a big heart”… “The fans are amazing”… “In this competition it is very difficult to achieve the play offs, this season the team are more ready”… “I have more motivation today than when I joined Sheffield Wednesday, I ask God to give me energy, to expend my motivation to my players and to the fans also, motivation to achieve something special.”

So the key messages today seemed to revolve around fighting.

The team are ready to fight for the badge, and Carlos is prepared to make sure they do that.

The Championship will be as tough as ever, with ten teams of similar ability fighting for three promotion spots.

Last season there were lessons to be learned. Maybe Carlos believes that lesson was one about desire, commitment, motivation and fight… because as we are all acutely aware, not much else has changed over the summer.

Let’s hope that little extra desire gets us over the line in those stalemate games this season… starting on Saturday at Preston.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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Joe

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


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