NEW head coach Carlos Carvalhal last night insisted the Premier League is a realistic target for Sheffield Wednesday inside the next two years.
The 49-year-old Portuguese was a surprise appointment by the Owls last week as the successor to Stuart Gray.
Carvalhal arrived with a CV featuring stays at 14 clubs in as many years and no previous experience of having worked in English football.
Despite that, owner Dejphon Chansiri believes the former Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas chief is the man to realise his ambition of reaching the top flight in Wednesday’s 150th anniversary year of 2017.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Carvalhal said: “I have worked in Portugal, Greece and Turkey. As you know, they can be difficult environments because you have a gun at your head all the time.
“Next match, if you don’t win then they will fire you. That is what I have lived with all my career.
“In Turkey if you lose two matches, the third match has a 95 per cent chance of firing you.
“But I believe the environment in England is different. It is not pressure to want promotion (in two years).
“I believe it is realistic, and it will be more realistic if we take the correct steps.
“We need to make no mistakes when recruiting players. If we improve the quality this year, I believe that next year we will be ready to be a strong team. I am sure of this.
“I have good expectations because I think we will bring in players with good abilities to entertain our fans.”
Wednesday have made six signings this summer, including attacking midfielder Marco Matias from Portuguese club Nacional for a fee in the region of £2m.
The capture of a player who netted 20 goals in 36 appearances last term for such a substantial fee is a clear sign that Wednesday chairman Chansiri wants to see a much more attack-minded approach next season.
After confirming the Owls interviewed “many, many candidates, including English managers”, the Thai businessman added: “The reason I chose Carlos was the way he trains, the style he plays and, most importantly, his personality.
“I get along with him very well. He was the most suitable man for the philosophy and how I want Sheffield Wednesday to play.
“It took us a long time (over sacking Stuart Gray) because it was a very tough decision. I like Stuart very much, he is a good man. But we have not had any success for the past 15 years and I have to make decisions for the best of Sheffield Wednesday.”
Carvalhal’s coaching career began in 1998 with Portuguese minnows, Espinho. His challenge now is to not only improve on last season’s 13th-placed finish but also substantially improve a goal tally that stood at just 43 goals in 46 games, only 16 of which were scored at Hillsborough.
“I have been to 14 clubs in 14 years,” said the former defender. “But, I must tell you something, in those 14 years I may have changed clubs but I have always gone up in my career.
“I don’t decrease my career. Coaches who were big players get a big club to start at. But I was given nothing. I started in the third division and moved up to the second division.
“I got to the first then and when I got there, I went to lower clubs. But then I got to the Europa League and after that, I got a big club like Sporting. Then after that, Besiktas. No one helped me, I just worked hard.
“Now, I am here at Sheffield Wednesday, the place I wish to be. I am not here to try and jump to anywhere else. I want to go (to the Premier League) with Sheffield Wednesday. That is my wish. I think of nothing else.”
Mourinho, my friend: Page 23.