SHEFFIELD Wednesday coach Carlos Carvalhal was thrilled with the way his much-changed team carried out his instructions to the letter to earn a last 16 Capital One Cup tie at home to Arsenal.
Only central defender Tom Lees was retained from the 3-2 league victory over Fulham as Lewis McGugan’s 76th-minute strike gave the Owls a 1-0 win at St James’ Park on a night when Premier League Newcastle United rarely looked like scoring.
In fact, the crossbar spared the Magpies further punishment twice within seconds as time ran down.
Carvalhal said: “We played very solid, very compact. Tactically, my players were 200 per cent, they played absolutely fantastically. They did exactly what we planned for this match.
“We blocked the way that Newcastle usually play to attack and at the same time, we tried to create problems for the Newcastle defence. We created some problems during the match for the defensive part of the Newcastle team.
“We could have scored a second goal - new had a clear chance to score a second goal - but I think 1-0 is a score that I accept and I think is the correct score because we worked a lot.
“Newcastle had more of the ball, we know, but we picked these players to show a different face in relation to the last three matches. We tried to play more compact, block all the ways for Newcastle and tried with four very quick attackers to disturb Newcastle, so I am very happy, of course.
“I am very happy with the players. They were perfect in the strategy that we brought top this match. They gave 100 per cent to the team and to our strategy, so I am very happy with them.”
Carvalhal had sympathy for opposite number Steve McClaren, whom he is convinced will turn things around on Tyneside.
Carvalhal said; “I recognise a very good coach, I recognise very good players. It’s very easy to recognise - that’s why our victory means much more than a normal victory, because we know we beat a very good team with a very good coach in their stadium, so of course we are very happy about that.”
McClaren has ordered his players to come out fighting against Chelsea on Saturday after another depressing defeat left him with just three wins in his last 21 games as a manager and his current club with only four in all competitions in 2015.
The result gave rise to yet another chorus of boos on the final whistle and, asked how embarrassed he was, the former England manager replied: “I’ve been in football too long to be embarrassed. Angry, disappointed.
“Things like that can happen in football, we said that beforehand, and yes, it’s a very disappointing result and evening for everybody.
“We have said to the players, ‘You can’t feel sorry for yourselves. You have got to come out on Saturday and be a fighter or a victim’, and it’s one or the other, and we can only have fighters on there now.
“We say how far do we have to go before we turn it around, because the players are capable of doing that. We can’t talk about it, we have to do it.
“There’s not a lot you can say. There are no excuses - back in tomorrow morning, Chelsea Saturday, it’s the fighting mentality we need.”