Sheffield Wednesday: Excited Carlos ready for Owls screen test

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

Over the last 48 hours or so, Carlos Carvalhal has tried to dampen down the hype surrounding the Owls’ forthcoming Yorkshire derby at Leeds United.

Millions of football fans across the globe will watch today’s lunch-time clash at Elland Road, which is being screened live on Sky Sports.

It is an opportunity for Wednesday to make amends following their below-par performance against Reading in midweek.

Carvalhal, charged with the task of leading the Owls back to the Premier League within the next two years, is no stranger to big derbies, having managed Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas in his nomadic career.

But it is business as usual for Carvalhal, whose focus is on making sure Wednesday effectively execute their game plan.

“The pressure is big in derby games in Istanbul and Lisbon,” said Carvalhal. “Sporting-Benfica is unbelievable. We would have 45,000 at Sporting and Benfica have 65,000. All the times, the stadium is full for derby games.

“What I do is focus on my work. I do not read too many newspapers, watch too much television or listen to the radio.

“I focus on my work. I have a lot of things to do in a week like this, when we have two games in four days. That can be a difficult environment.

“I don’t think too much about what the fans are thinking or talking about. I cannot. I have to do my job and focus on the game. I have to get the team to get the three points.

“I only start to feel the game when I arrive at the stadium. That moment, I will sense how the people around me feel. Nothing different in terms of how we prepare.

“It maybe makes a difference when we leave the facility. At Besiktas, for example, we probably would have 2,000 fans there.

“Sometimes, the cars follow the bus all the way. They are not crazy people, they are just crazy positive people. They follow the bus to the stadium and when we arrive there is 5,000 fans singing from about 1km away.

“The bus has to stop. The atmosphere is big and they are singing. At Sporting-Benfica, it was similar. The fans come to the training facilities and a lot are waiting for us at the stadium.”

Carvalhal recognises the importance of local bragging rights.

“That is how they live in those derbies,” he said. “Probably here, it will be a little different.

“The fans enjoy the game more in the 90 minutes. I don’t know which is better or worse; it’s just different. I enjoy the atmosphere and I will enjoy it at Leeds. It will be good.”

More than 1,000 Wednesday fans will make the trip to West Yorkshire and Carvalhal would love to send them home happy.

The 49-year-old said: “To win (a derby) is a great feeling. The people around you are happy. When you don’t win, they are unhappy. It is like this in all derbies in the world, it is the same.

“The emotional environment is higher and it is normal to react like that. They react completely different to winning or losing a normal game.

“We are working hard to give our fans some happiness. These games are special. You enjoy them as professionals.”

Braga-born Carvalhal is calling on his team to be more aggressive in the final third, claiming they lacked end product against the Royals.

He could be forced into altering his backline versus Leeds, with captain Glenn Loovens still nursing an ankle problem. Vincent Sasso is in line to make his first Championship start if Loovens is ruled out.

Carvalhal said: “Vincent [Sasso] has done well in the games he has played in. We have 100% confidence if he, or another person, plays.”

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