Car­val­hal is not fazed by pres­sure build

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Dunlavy

CAR­LOS Car­val­hal in­sists he is “afraid of noth­ing” as pres­sure on the Sh­effield Wed­nes­day boss reaches boil­ing point.

The strug­gling Owls wel­come Leeds on the back of a derby de­feat to Sh­effield United and a shock 1-0 loss at strug­gling Birm­ing­ham.

Pre-week­end, Wed­nes­day were 14th. They had won just three of their first ten games and were five points shy of the top six.

Vic­tory for the Whites to­day also would mark the first time Wed­nes­day have lost three straight league games since Car­val­hal’s ap­point­ment in June 2015.

Steady progress? Hardly, but the Por­tuguese – who en­joys a close re­la­tion­ship with owner De­jphon Chan­siri – says he doesn’t fear the axe.

“I am not wor­ried,” he said in a de­fi­ant me­dia call on Fri­day. “I am not hid­ing. My face is al­ways here. I am afraid of noth­ing.

“My­self and the owner, we talk of­ten and noth­ing has changed. He doesn’t look at us with dif­fer­ent eyes be­cause we lose two games. He talked with me the same way he did last week, last month and two years ago. He is a rea­son­able per­son.”

A rea­son­able chair­man is a boon for any man­ager, but what Car­val­hal re­ally needs is a fit squad for a sus­tained spell.

Pro­pelled to the 2016 play-off fi­nal by slick, of­fen­sive foot­ball, the Owls have since looked stodgy and leaden. For Car­val­hal, that re­gres­sion was down to lengthy in­jury ab­sences for key play­ers.

“In foot­ball, you have for­wards, mid­field­ers and de­fend­ers,” he said after the Owls drew 1-1 with Sun­der­land in Au­gust.

“Some play­ers, they just stay in those po­si­tions. Oth­ers break the lines. By that I mean they can move around the pitch, cre­ate space and link play. These play­ers are very valu­able. “For us these play­ers are Fer­nando Forestieri, Gary Hooper, Kieran Lee, Ross Wal­lace, Sam Hutchin­son. “Last sea­son, they all were in­jured for a long time. At one stage, I didn’t have any of them. None. So when peo­ple were say­ing ‘Why are you play­ing this way?’ Why aren’t we play­ing the same as last sea­son?’ they must un­der­stand that we didn’t have the play­ers. I had to play a dif­fer­ent way to win matches.” Ar­gen­tine play­maker Forestieri, who had knee surgery ear­lier this month, will be out for a min­i­mum of three months. But with mid­field ball­win­ner Hutchin­son and skip­per Glenn Loovens back in con­tention this week­end, Car­val­hal now has al­most ev­ery weapon at his dis­posal. Past achieve­ments and his friend­ship with Chan­siri should en­sure the 51-year-old is given a chance to prove his com­plaints were jus­ti­fied even if Leeds leave Hills­bor­ough with three points. Fail to im­prove in Oc­to­ber, how­ever, and he is out of ex­cuses. In the mean­time, Car­val­hal has pleaded for the sup­port of an in­creas­ingly ran­corous Hills­bor­ough. “I know foot­ball and I know the life,” he said. “I know that some peo­ple have rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions and some do not. But let us not be di­vided. “Be­cause if you turn your back on me, you are turn­ing your back on Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.”

STRAIN: Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal

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