Sheffield Wednesday 2 Bristol City 0: Carvalhal launches new Owls era

Owls' Lewis McGugan hits second goal.
Owls' Lewis McGugan hits second goal.
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Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal outlined his vision for taking the club forward after overseeing a 2-0 victory in his Sky Bet Championship opener against promoted Bristol City.

Tom Lees opened the scoring on the hour mark with a well-placed header from a corner and that was followed up 10 minutes later with a strike from Lewis McGugan, who slotted into an empty net after a floated cross left the visiting defence stranded.

Carvalhal said: “I am happy because people around me are happy. We had a very good and professional exhibition today. Bristol is a good team. They will be very good during the season, they play good football. We analysed them. Football is a clever game and if you understand what you have to do, it helps, and we did that today.

“What I am trying to do is create a new era for the club, to break the last 15 years which was not good for the club. It was not just the last season - the last 15 seasons were not good for the club.

“We want to create a fantastic atmosphere so people want to come to the stadium, enjoy the time, bring their families. Of course if you win they will be happy and can go home and drink some beers to celebrate instead of beers to forget the match.”

Both sides mounted dangerous attacks in the opening 10 minutes in an effort to make the best possible start to the new campaign.

The first real chance fell to the visitors as Luke Freeman picked up the ball just outside the box, cut inside on his right foot and unleashed a shot on goal, but the effort lacked power and Keiren Westwood was able to deal with it easily.

With the half-hour mark approaching, the Owls piled on the pressure. New signing Ross Wallace cut inside and had an effort at goal but neither he nor McGugan on the rebound could put it away.

The best chance of the half came just a few minutes later. Marcho Matias, recently arrived from Nacional, fired in from a tight angle but missed the bottom corner by inches.

Wednesday continued to assert their dominance with Wallace marauding down the wing and whipping the ball in, but Lopez couldn’t keep his shot down and blasted over from the edge of the box.

After the break Wednesday picked up where they left off in the first half. A sustained period of dominance saw them go close through Hunt and Atdhe Nuhiu but it looked as though their finishing would let them down.

However, on the stroke of the hour mark the Owls made their pressure pay. Lopez’s floated corner found the head of Lees and the big defender nodded the ball past keeper Frank Fielding, who could only get his fingertips to it.

The Robins attempted to come back and nick a goal of their own but with 70 minutes gone a whipped ball into the box cleared the entire Bristol defence and the goalkeeper, finding an expectant McGugan who had the easy job of tapping into an empty net to double his side’s lead.

The visitors almost got a consolation goal when a flurry in the box ended with a shot on target from within the crowd but McGugan was there to clear the ball off the line.

The last bit of action came in the dying minutes of added time. A brilliant run from Liam Palmer ended with a pass to Kieran Lee who squared it to Matias, but his shot at the open goal was sliced wide.

Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill bemoaned the way in which his side conceded, but admitted his players were masters of their own downfall despite playing well.

Cotterill said: “They played counter-attacking football at home. That’s what I felt happened today. The goal from the corner was our fault because if you don’t get touch-tight and you don’t get the first contact in the box then you’re living on a knife-edge.

“I felt like our football was just as good as theirs, if not better. But the most important thing is they won the game 2-0. I don’t want to harp on about the counter-attacking. I met Carlos before the game - he seems like a nice guy and he asked me to come and have a glass of wine with him and he offered that before the match.

“Sheffield Wednesday are a good club and good luck to them going forward. But, when you look at it today, from our point of view, the first goal was against the run of play and you can dominate the game but if you don’t win the game it doesn’t mean anything.”