Carlos Carvalhal hopes the penny has finally dropped with Lucas Joao after claiming the Owls striker wasted six months of his career due to a lack of focus.
Joao has struggled to find the back of the net in 2016, scoring just two goals. After a promising start to life at Hillsborough, the 23-year-old lost his way last season and was largely used as a substitute in the second half of the campaign.
Head coach Carvalhal believes Joao started to believe his own hype, contributing to his loss of form.
He said: “We know what happened with Lucas last season. He came with a big expectation and we played him and he did very well but after he lost control and came down. He was a completely different player.
“He received a lesson and now he has grown up more strong and with a better base. Maybe he missed six months of his career because he came down. But now he is more solid and more confident and he learned a lesson.”
After almost three months on the sidelines due to injury, Joao returned to action against Wolverhampton Wanderers. He is expected to lead the line in tomorrow’s Hillsborough showdown with Preston North End.
“Lucas can be a first-choice striker for Portugal,” insisted Carvalhal. “He has the potential but I know a lot of players with big potential who never achieve what they are capable of for different reasons.
“It happened with Lucas last year. He dreamed a lot and forgot the things he needed to improve. Now I think he has learned a lesson.
“He has comeback and performed very well in the last two games, especially with his team work.”