CARLOS CARVALHAL insists his new-look Sheffield Wednesday will retain a British core despite two of the most recent arrivals being from abroad.
The 49-year-old Portuguese has wasted no time in adding to the Owls squad following his appointment at the start of this month.
Attacking midfielder Marco Matias joined from Portuguese club Nacional for a fee in the region of £2m on Wednesday, closely followed by Spanish midfielder Alex Lopez from Celta Vigo on a season-long loan.
Both represent exciting additions and take the club’s tally of new faces to six, defenders Darryl Lachman, Vincent Sasso and Jack Hunt plus goalkeeper Lewis Price having previously agreed switches to Hillsborough.
And then yesterday, former Burnley winger and Scotland international Ross Wallace joined on a one-year deal.
Asked about his recruitment plans, the Owls’ new head coach said: “I am pushing to bring in British players with experience in the Championship. I hope we have more of those players soon.
“We need those kind of players. If you have a good group with Championship experience and you have some of them come from outside, you have to manage that well.
“You can’t play six or seven players in the first XI who have never played in the Championship. That is a big mistake if you start like this. It is not easy for them to adapt quickly. These things take time.
“It will be difficult for the players in the first games but maybe they will do well. We are expecting this. We believe with time we will do better.”
With regards the on-going pursuit of new faces, Carvalhal added: “I can’t give a number but we will bring in more players. My wish is to try and bring two players to each position with the quality to play.
“This is a long Championship and our fans must expect to sometime see changes in the team. To do that, we need players with similar quality. We need more players and our chairman agrees with that. Not every position. There are positions we are happy about.”
Wednesday’s recruitment drive follows a restructuring of the club towards the end of last season. Glenn Roeder was brought in along with Adam Pearson to form a football committee along with then head coach Stuart Gray that answered to owner Dejphon Chansiri.
Since then, Pearson has left for Leeds United and Gray was sacked last month. Carvalhal is now on the committee along with scout Paul Senior and former Fulham coach Jonathan Hill.
Chairman Chansiri believes the new set-up is working well. “Since the first day that we appointed the committee, they have all worked hard and closely together as a team and are improving our club.
“At the moment, the committee is doing very, very well but, in the future, if we have someone who is very experienced and of good quality and can help the team develop then we may consider adding additional people.
“Carlos is now part of the committee. Each member of the committee has their own suggestion. The committee then make suggestions but the final say will be made by the chairman.”
On the pursuit of new signings, Chansiri added: “We still need certain positions in the team and the style of play that we are going to play. We need quality players in each position. We will definitely bring in more players.”
As a manager/head coach schooled in Portugal, Greece and Turkey, Carvalhal has easily adapted to the new set-up at Hillsborough.
“In my culture, the coach never talks about money (on signing players),” he said. “The coach just gives technical support to the president or management, saying this player is good or not good.
“If I am coach of Sporting Lisbon and I want (Lionel) Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, I say that to the president. The president looks at the conditions and calls me to say, ‘Carlos, it’s not possible because it’s a little expensive for us.’ It’s normal. It’s nothing different to what I know before.
“I have a good relationship with the committee. We have started to work so the communication can be more fluid and easy. We are working without problems. At this moment, everything is perfect.”
Carvalhal, despite being in charge of 14 clubs in as many years, is experiencing English football for the first time.
He was, considering the closest he had come to working in Britain being linked with a couple of jobs in Scotland, something of a surprise appointment.
Being an unknown quantity, however, does not faze the 49-year-old. “It is normal, it is natural,” replied Carvalhal, when asked if he understood why a section of Wednesday supporters were concerned about the appointment of someone with no previous experience in England.
“There are always 1,000 names better than you. People will always have opinions on players and it is the same with coaches.
“Since I have been appointed, I have received a lot of good messages and I must say thank you to ‘the massive’ fans for making me feel welcome. They will start to get to know me.
We will see how much the fans love me in six months. It is part of our work. I am confident people will like the way we play.”