Bolton v Sheffield Weds; Carvalhal sure Owls will learn from mistakes

Carlos Carvalhal was encouraged by Sheffield Wednesday's display at Burnley.
Carlos Carvalhal was encouraged by Sheffield Wednesday's display at Burnley.
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CARLOS CARVALHAL insists he is feeling under no pressure from Sheffield Wednesday’s owners following the club’s five-match run without a league victory.

Wednesday head into tonight’s Roses clash at Bolton Wanderers in 19th place, just three places and two points above the Championship relegation zone, with head coach Carvalhal’s side without a win since the opening day of the campaign on August 8.

After a hectic summer window of recruitment which has seen the Owls bring in 15 players and fork out around £9m to bring in the likes of Fernando Forestieri, Marco Matias and Lucas Joao, the early-season table does not make for particularly pleasant reading for Wednesdayites – nor for the board.

More especially given the pre-season optimism at Hillsborough, with club owner Dejphon Chansiri having publicly set a target of promotion to the Premier League within two seasons while wafting the cheque book at several junctures in a clear show of ambition.

Carvalhal is the first to admit that he has felt some early frustrations in his reign, but says that the only pressure he has experienced comes not from the club’s hierarchy but that which he has placed on himself.

He said: “I am not feeling pressure.

“If you ask me after the Middlesbrough match, I felt a bit of pressure on myself because I did not like nothing that we did in the first half and I was very upset – with me and the players, the process and everything.

“But after Burnley, believe me, I do not feel under pressure. I feel confidence.”

Despite seeing his side lose 3-1 at Turf Moor on Saturday, Carvalhal was left wholly enthused by his side’s vibrant attacking display, which was undermined by a couple of uncharacteristic defensive mistakes which led to goals.

Discounting those errors, the Portuguese remains confident that the Owls, whose performance against the Clarets drew applause from the big travelling following, are in a “good way”, although his desire for victories to arrive sooner rather than later is also self-evident.

He added: “If you look after the (international) break, we have changed the way we have played and have created a new dynamic.

“Our answer in the match at Burnley was very good and all the people in the stadium looked at our performance.

“It was very good football and I think we are in a good way.

“What we will try to do against Bolton is try to bring points because we need points and we will fight for the three points.

“I believe teams who play better win more matches. If we play football with more quality, we will win more than we lose.

“What we must do is stop the mistakes and break the counter-attacking of opponents. We must learn very quickly about these situations.”

The Owls may have used 24 players already this term, but Carvalhal says that supporters will start to see a more stabilised line-up in the coming weeks, with the framework of the line-up he wants to field on a weekly basis now in place.

But one key man he must again do without tonight is Keiren Westwood, with teenager Joe Wildsmith to continue in goal, Carvalhal expressing “100 per cent” confidence in the young goalkeeper.

Carvalhal, who did not include Lewis McGugan, Jack Hunt or Moudou Soudou in his match-day squad at the weekend, added: “I said to my players after the last match, ‘we lose one game but win as a team’.

“That is the main phrase and I believe that a lot. When you think you have found a team, you find the foundations.

“We are better and in better condition than when we started at the beginning.

“I believe in the future that the rotation will not be like the first period (of the season). We will stabilise the team and the way that we play.”

Confirming that Wildsmith will line up tonight, he added: “Joe will play at the beginning.

“He did very well and we trust him 100 per cent.

“We don’t have any problems with goalkeepers because we have goalkeepers who give us 100 per cent confidence.”

Wednesday head into tonight’s game mourning the death of legendary goalkeeper Ron Springett, who passed away at the age of 80 following a short illness.

Springett represented England in the 1962 World Cup while at the club and was understudy to Sheffield-born Gordon Banks in the victorious campaign four years later.

The player between the posts for the Owls tonight is a boyhood Wednesdayite with a keen sense of club history and Wildsmith paid his respects to the club great.

He said: “It is tragic news for the club and my thoughts go out to his family.

“He played over 300 games for the Owls and obviously played for England and had a great career.

“He’s a Sheffield Wednesday legend, really, and as a goalkeeper, you look up to that and see what can be done and strive to do.

“Hopefully, my career can be as good as his.”

Last six: Bolton LLLDDW, Sheffield Wednesday LDDWLL.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).

Last time: Bolton 0 Sheffield Wednesday 0; September 13, 2014; Championship.