HEAD COACH Carlos Carvalhal insists he will not risk Swansea’s Premier League status for FA Cup glory.
Carvalhal has extra motivation in the fifth round of the FA Cup today as he makes a swift return to Sheffield Wednesday, the club where he spent two and a half years before departing on Christmas Eve.
Victory would secure Swansea’s first quarter-final in the competition since 1964, but Carvalhal has promised to rest several first-team regulars ahead of key relegation battles in the Premier League.
“We won’t take any risks and there will be changes because I will protect some players, I’m absolutely sure about that.” Carvalhal said. “Ask me to stay in the Premier League or win the Cup and I say Premier League because it is more important to the club.
“As a manager it would be fantastic to be with the trophy.
“I was at Wembley with Sheffield Wednesday (in the 2016 Championship play-off final) and I loved it.
“I want to go back there in my career, but I am not selfish because I understand the priority of the club and that is to stay in the Premier League.”
Carvalhal rotated his squad in previous rounds against Wolves and Notts County.
Swansea still had enough to win those ties, albeit after replays, and Cup progress has come alongside excellent league form.
Under Carvalhal, Swansea have taken 14 points from 21 to climb off the foot of the Premier League and escape the bottom three.
The Portuguese must now try to maintain that momentum without cup-tied pair Andre Ayew and Andy King and a raft of injuries ruling out the likes of Leroy Fer, Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches.
Carvalhal’s successor Jos Luhukay had to wait until Tuesday’s 2-0 home win against Derby, his sixth league game, to register his first success in the Championship.
“The reality is injuries have given him the same problems as me in my last games,” Carvalhal said.
“But when some of the players are back I think they are strong enough to be in the top places of the division.”