CARLOS CARVALHAL believes this season’s Sheffield Wednesday side is more balanced than the one that reached the Championship play-off final last May.
The Owls head to Elland Road today sitting sixth in the table – just as they were this time last year after rounding off February with a goalless draw at Hull City.
Wednesday are, however, four points better off than at the corresponding stage of 2015-16 and Carvalhal is adamant that his squad is much better equipped this time around.
“Some teams depend too much on one or two players,” said the Portuguese. “If they miss that player, they are a completely different team.
“I think this season, for example, we are a better team. We don’t depend on one or two players, we are very balanced and this is an advantage.”
Last term was very much a breakthrough for Wednesday, even allowing for their defeat at Wembley against Steve Bruce’s Tigers.
We don’t have any reason to be negative. We are healthy, we are playing in a derby and we are in a good position.Sheffield Wednesday boss, Carlos Carvalhal
After years in the doldrums, the Owls brought a feelgood factor back to Hillsborough that this season has morphed into a sense of expectation.
This has led to the odd rumbling of discontent in the stands if things are not going Wednesday’s way, which is why Carvalhal has been so keen to strike an upbeat tone during the build-up to today’s short journey up the M1.
“We don’t have any reason to be negative,” he added. “We are healthy, we are playing in a derby and we are in a good position. We are the second best team in the (Championship over the) last 16 games and we are ready for the Leeds game.
“Everybody has an opinion, everyone thinks we must play like this or that. We must have two players on the side, two attackers and so on and so on.
“But people don’t know the balance between attack and defence. It is not just putting people in attack. We finished the last game (Tuesday’s home defeat to Brentford) with Sam Winnall, (Steven) Fletcher, (Jordan) Rhodes and (Fernando) Forestieri all on the pitch. They were all the attackers we had.
“It is my job to put the dark clouds away because I know that these types of things make opinion.
“We must fight to win points and do better, understanding that the opponents play against us with motivation because we were in the play-offs. They play differently (against us) to last season.
“We were seven or eight points away from Leeds not long ago and now we are on the same points. You never know what can happen in a month.”