Carvalhal sure Sheffield Wednesday can challenge for play-off spots

Jordan Rhodes gets ahead of Barry Bannan to score Sheffield Wednesdays second goal against Aston Villa (Picture: Steve Ellis).
Jordan Rhodes gets ahead of Barry Bannan to score Sheffield Wednesdays second goal against Aston Villa (Picture: Steve Ellis).
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Sheffield Wednesday’s head coach Carlos Carvalhal has recently suffered criticism, but he feels the recent improvement vindicates his optimism.

He said: “We did really well as Villa found it difficult to create chances. We took advantage of our early goal and could have finished the game.

“But that would have been unfair to Villa because of the way they played in the second half.

“I am happy with our performance as we have played well in the last three games.

“We know we can challenge the play-offs as the quality of our play should ensure we are challenging at the end of the season.”

Villa manager Steve Bruce could not hide his disappointment following Aston Villa’s surhome defeat.

We know we can challenge the play-offs as the quality of our play should ensure we are challenging at the end of the season.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal

Bruce’s dismay was compounded with the news that former England captain John Terry will be out for up to three months with a broken bone in his foot.

Terry, who limped out of the game midway through the first half, was taken to hospital and Bruce said: “It was one of those difficult afternoons.

“I have to say they scored two wonderful goals. We can always pick holes defensively, but it was always going to be a mountain to climb.

“I took a gamble with Robert Snodgrass who played with broken ribs. He wanted to play, but it backfired and I should have known better.

“We then lost Terry, which was a tremendous blow. The loss of key players is critical to all of us, especially when it is someone like John Terry.

“Fitness-wise John was in good nick. Let’s hope the injury is not so bad and he will be out for six weeks and not twelve weeks.”

Bruce added: “We had an awful 35 minutes, we only huffed and puffed. Sadly we were nowhere near what we have produced over the last few weeks.”

Revitalised Wednesday put themselves closer to the play-off zone as they have now collected seven points in a week.

They were undoubtedly indebted to a fast start, with Adam Reach scoring after only 19 seconds followed by a 23rd-minute strike from Jordan Rhodes.

Chris Samba’s last-minute goal was hardly a true reflection as Villa were off-key for long periods of the game.

Aston Villa: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry (Samba 21), Hutton, Snodgrass (O’Hare 40), Whelan (Grealish 77), Hourihane, Adomah, Davis, Hogan. Unused substitutes: Neil Taylor, Steer, Jedinak, Bjarnason.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Fox, Wallace (Palmer 63), Butterfield, Bannan, Reach, Rhodes (Fletcher 73), Hooper (Jones 83). Unused substitutes: van Aken, Lucas Joao, Wildsmith, Abdi.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).