Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United: Respect is name of the game in White Rose derby

Yorkshirre derby day.
Yorkshirre derby day.
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Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United collide today in a Yorkshire derby but do not expect Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal to flinch.

While there is no love lost between the Owls and Leeds, Carvalhal is a veteran of some fierce derby games in Europe.

Marco Matias' stunning goal against Leeds last time out.

Marco Matias' stunning goal against Leeds last time out.

He was in charge of Sporting against hated rivals Benfica in Portugal, while the partisan nature of facing Galatasaray and Fenerbahce with his Besiktas side in Turkey bordered on vitriolic.

So 50-year-old Carvalhal, who was in charge as the Owls drew at Elland Road earlier in the season, is relaxed ahead of today’s lunchtime kick-off.

“In Portugal and Turkey, it’s completely different,” he said. “Very aggressive.

“You check with police over protection, when you arrive at the stadium about 10,000 opposition fans are screaming and calling you bad names.

Owls' Lewis McGugan.

Owls' Lewis McGugan.

“Maybe you have stones being thrown at the team bus, with the police trying to protect you.

“You go inside the stadium and you have 60,000 or 70,000 fans who make the environment very nervous, it’s completely different.

“The people don’t just go to focus on the game and support the teams.

“It’s more aggressive and that’s not good.

“Emotions are higher. If you are on the bus and you see stones thrown at the bus, you feel angry.

“If 5,000 people are calling you bad names, your emotions change.

“It’s why I believe England is special, because I believe people respect the football more.

“There is rivalry, but respect, and you can enjoy the derbies.

“I didn’t enjoy the derbies when I was at Sporting or Besiktas, because the environment is very aggressive and it’s not easy to deal with.

“Here, the fans connect with the derby. It is an emotional environment for the players, but it’s a positive one.

“Believe me, when comparing it with a derby between Sporting and Benfica, Besiktas against Galatasaray or Fenerbahce, it’s completely different.

“Here I can enjoy the derby, because the fans can be aggressive, but in positive terms. The people support the teams.”

While there have been some nasty flashpoints in Wednesday-Leeds games of yesteryear, most pass incident-free.

The main talking point from this season’s 1-1 draw at Elland Road was the stunning long-range goal from Owls winger Marco Matias.

It is one of several Owls strikes which would grace any goal of the 2015-16 season competition.

Lewis McGugan chipped Jordan Pickford from 45 yards against Preston North End in October, and Wednesday have netted spectacular long-range goals in each of their last three games.

Ross Wallace drilled home the winner at Fulham, who were also on the receiving end of Barry Bannan’s effort in the FA Cup a week later.

Then, on Tuesday night, Fernando Forestieri netted from distance in a 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers to the delight of Carvalhal.

He said: “What we want is to win. If we can win with goals which are amazing, then fantastic.

“This season, I remember the game against Leeds when Marco scored probably the goal of the year.

“I remember the goal scored by Lewis McGugan at home, the goals from Fernando, Bannan and Ross Wallace.

“We are talking about five fantastic goals. We are very happy, but the most important thing is all these goals had a value when it comes to points.”

Wednesday may have conceded twice to Bolton, but Carvalhal has urged his team to be attacking, and accepts that can have consequences at the opposite end of the field.

“It’s not a problem to me, I have a philosophy of attack over defence,” he said.

“I prefer to win 5-4 than 1-0, or 10-9 if it’s possible. The fans can see 19 goals in a game and we win three points.

“The most important thing is to win three points and entertain the fans, we want to entertain them. “The people buy tickets to see exciting football, they don’t want to see teams shooting in the air and defending 0-0.”

Wednesday have not lost at Hillsborough since August – their solitary loss coming against Middlesbrough.

But the depth of their squad has been tested in recent weeks, with a string of first-teamers out injured like Keiren Westwood, former Leeds defender Tom Lees, Michael Turner, Sam Hutchinson, McGugan, Matias and Alex Lopez.

Carvalhal refused to reveal if any of those missing players could return today, but strike duo Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri face pre-match fitness tests.

“Don’t ask me about the players, because I don’t want to lie,” Carvalhal told

“I don’t want to give you information that tomorrow could be different, and people think I am bluffing.

“The reality is the day of the game we will know exactly (who is fit).

“But we are stronger now than a week ago, absolutely sure.

“Hooper and Fernando didn’t play in the best conditions in the last game. They didn’t play 100 per cent in the last game.

“The game on Saturday, we don’t know yet if they will be fit or not. It’s a situation which will be decided at the last minute.”