HEAD COACH David Wagner admits he will be delighted to break bread at the Premier League table with Carlos Carvalhal today – and says that the former Sheffield Wednesday head coach is fully deserving of the top-flight stage.
It is one of football’s many quirks of fortune that the pair find themselves pitting their wits against each other at the highest level of English football, just 10 months after each was trying to secure a passage to the Premier League at each other’s expense in an all-Yorkshire play-off semi-final between Huddersfield Town and the Owls.
Both have made an impact in the Premier League and the respect will endure today, whatever the result.
Wagner said: “It is nice to meet him again and in the Premier League. I think he absolutely deserves to be a Premier League manager and he is a great manager who did a fantastic job at Sheffield when he was in charge.
“But it is not Carlos against David and totally different circumstances. Swansea with Carlos play totally different to what Carlos played with Sheffield Wednesday.
“It only shows how good he is as a manager that he is adaptable.
“It is totally different and they play a different style (to Sheffield Wednesday); a very footballing style and they are creative and have confidence and speed in their game. We are totally aware about everything what is in front of us.
“Since Carlos came in they collected a lot more points than before and performed better than before, it is the truth.
“But we have shown we are competitive in this division and it is an interesting game.
“It is a game where we have great opportunities. This is a great situation for us to get the best out of it.”
Wagner insists he is paying little attention to the hyped-up status of today’s game against a survival rival amid the incessant talk of today’s fixture being a six-pointer, with the German steadfastly keeping his focus.
He said: “I have no idea how the results will go and what other opponents will do in this period.
“Now, I am used to this (six-pointer) phrase, to be honest, and I have heard it now on a lot of times.
“In the game against West Brom away they used the same phrase and against Bournemouth and they will use it for this game and the next game as well.
“I will not say it is boring, but we are focused on the chance and it is a big, big chance for us that we play this game against this opponent; a good opponent at home with the momentum and confidence we have.”