Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal hailed what he felt was probably his team’s best performance of the season as they stormed to a 5-1 victory over Norwich. whose boss Alex Neil labelled his side’s display “unacceptable”.
Jordan Rhodes scored twice with Ross Wallace, Morgan Fox and Fernando Forestieri also on target for the Owls, with Cameron Jerome netting for the visitors.
Carvalhal said: “My players did fantastic and they did exactly what they must do. It was probably the best performance of the season.
“When we are like this, playing good football, we can achieve more goals and a better performance.
“I had a very good expectation about the game. We had one week to prepare the team and they were more fresh.
“We played some very good football and put our opponents under pressure for long periods during the game.
“It was a very positive environment and the fans were amazing today - probably the best they have been all season.”
The result kept Wednesday firmly in the Sky Bet Championship play-off hunt, two points behind fifth-placed Reading.
It also moved Carvalhal’s side nine points ahead of eighth-spotted Norwich, but the Portuguese had encouraging words for the Canaries.
“We try to win our games and then see what position we are in,” he said . “We never know what can happen in this competition.
“If I was in the position of the Norwich manager, I wouldn’t think that I was out of the play-offs.”
The breakthrough arrived in the 15th minute when Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy raced out of his area to clear the ball as Sam Hutchinson advanced, but played it straight to Wallace who found the unguarded net from around 35 yards.
Rhodes doubled Wednesday’s advantage on 22 minutes by meeting Forestieri’s left-wing cross with a well-placed header.
Norwich scored when Steven Naismith’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, and the ball looped up and was headed home by Jerome at the far post seven minutes before the break.
The hosts restored their two-goal lead four minutes before the break when Forestieri’s corner was met by a stooping far-post header from Fox.
Rhodes headed his second goal of the afternoon from Barry Bannan’s cross nine minutes after the restart, and Forestieri rounded off the rout midway through the second period with a superb 25-yard free-kick.
Norwich manager Neil, whose side have now not won in four games, said: “I’m obviously disappointed and frustrated. I think we understood the gravity of the game but ultimately we didn’t handle it.
“We gifted two goals to Sheffield Wednesday and then started to play a little bit. If you’re going to gift two goals to a team like Sheffield Wednesday, you’re going to struggle.
“We could and should have done a lot more. There was not the intensity that we should have had.
“The first one was a mistake and for the second we lost the ball on the wide right position and then didn’t defend our box.
“We didn’t handle the magnitude of the game and a few honest words were spoken after the game.
“The lads were disappointed with their performance and they know they should have done better. They know it was unacceptable.”