Carlos Carvalhal loves a boat metaphor.
And at yesterday’s press call, he described himself as the “leader” of the Sheffield Wednesday ship.
It has been, by Carvalhal’s own admission, a rough ride.
His vessel could have blown off course over the Christmas and New Year period as the injuries piled up. The Owls were unable to call upon a number of senior players, including Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper.
The fixture list has also not been kind to the Championship promotion-chasers, with six of their last eight matches taking place away from Hillsborough.
Aside from their superb Boxing Day success at Newcastle United, Wednesday’s performances have been up and down. Their inconsistent form has led to some fans questioning the direction the boat is heading in.
But Carvalhal feels his crew have done him proud in challenging conditions and is convinced they have sailed through the “storm”.
“December was a very bad month for us to choose players and we brought George Hirst in from the Under-18s,” he said. “He’s a promising player but he’s not ready.
“We had to push him into the first-team as we needed one more striker at that moment.
“Barry Bannan played with a small pain that was a big pain and then we lost Kieran Lee.
“It was a very hard few weeks for us.
“Even with a storm, we put the boat in a good direction and now I think the storm has gone.”
It was noticeable that Carvalhal took to social networking site Twitter on a rare weekend off. Nearly 48 hours after leading the Owls to three much-needed points at Wigan Athletic, Carvalhal posted: “If everyone pulls together, supports and encourages, great things can be achieved. Progress can be made.”
The Portuguese chief is acutely aware Wednesday have received, in some quarters, criticism for their style of play. It is fair to say the team have not been as entertaining or pleasing on the eye as they were last season.
But Carvalhal has called on the supporters and players to stick together.
He said: “Ninety five per of the fans know that the team is in good hands and know what we are doing. We know exactly what we must do to win games.
“I know things will be different in the future.
“Now we have more options, a better dynamic and are more ready. We will fight a lot for the three points and will do better between now and the end of the season.
“It is important that everybody believes and stays in the same boat and everybody goes in the same direction. We have 10 home matches left and seven away so we have a good chance to do something good but we must all be in the same boat to achieve a good position.”
It was not pretty but Wednesday got the job done against Wigan last Friday and Carvalhal insists winning is all that matters to him heading into the business end of the campaign.
Carvalhal, who has Sam Hutchinson available for selection again after a two-match ban, said: “We lost some games last season against teams near the bottom but we are more ready to fight against these teams. We would have lost at Wigan last season with the way pitch was and the way they played.
“Wigan are a team who are organised and don’t concede many goals. It was very important to achieve the three points. Now, let’s get the boat going more fast.”