Sheffield Wednesday: Lucas Joao ‘must be fresh to play at his best’

Lucas Joao
Lucas Joao

It is well known by now that Carlos Carvalhal believes he must rotate his players in order to keep them fresh for the rigours of a Championship campaign.

And he says Lucas Joao’s ‘below-par’ performance against Barnsley on Tuesday night is the evidence he needs to back up his belief.

Carvalhal insists he knew Joao would not be at the best for the South Yorkshire derby as he did not have enough time to recover, after starting against Reading three days earlier.

“Lucas played against Reading. He ran and fought a lot,” Carvalhal said.

“Because we are with some problems, we decided to put him to play on Tuesday, understanding that he will not recover for Tuesday and he will have problems to recover.

“When he doesn’t recover, he’s a completely different player.

“He is late to situations. Even when he runs, he runs bad.

“He doesn’t have a fresh mind to make decisions.

“He didn’t do a good performance on Tuesday but it was not a surprise to me as I know the player.

“Even if he had scored five goals on Saturday, we had won 5-0 and Lucas had scored all five goals, he would not be in the same condition to play on Tuesday.

“He’s a player who must be fresh to achieve the best of him.”

Joao nevertheless netted in the 2-0 win over Barnsley.

Carvalhal expects the forward to eventually adapt to life in English football, where midweek games come regularly.

But he says it would take more than a year for foreign players to be fully up to speed with the demands of the game in this country.

“The players are different,” Carvalhal said. “Some of them recover.

“It is not a question of physical condition. It is a question of attitude to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.

“Most of the English players are very resilient to this and powerful compared to the players abroad because they have lived with this a long time.

“In other countries, they don’t play like this. They play one game a week.

“It is completely different and the body has to adapt to it.

“We can’t do this in one or two years.

“Sometimes it takes more time for players to get used to it.”