A dejected Carlos Carvalhal was left cursing “one of the hardest weeks” of his managerial career after Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-0 home defeat to fellow promotion rivals Reading.
Strikes by Yann Kermorgant and substitute Adrian Popa condemned the Owls to a second successive defeat and the injuries keep piling up for Carvalhal.
Ross Wallace played no part in the clash after suffering a knee problem in training on Thursday. The winger joined a lengthy injury list, which includes Sam Hutchinson, Kieran Lee and leading scorer Fernando Forestieri.
Carvalhal, whose side have won just one of their last six matches and drop to seventh in the table if Fulham beat Wolverhampton Wanderers today, admitted: “It (the week) was very hard to me. Probably one of the hardest weeks as a coach in my career because we miss so many players.
“We had problems before the game with Gary Hooper and Kieran Lee. Fernando and Sam more recently. Almen also and Ross on Thursday. We are talking about a lot of players who have played often since we arrived at the club and are important in our dynamic. But I must respect the players who played against Reading. The boys who played did absolutely fantastic. They did very well.
“But my players understand that when we recover players we are more strong.”
Carvalhal hopes to recover Hutchinson, Hooper, Forestieri and Wallace over the international break.
Wednesday piled on the pressure late on against Reading but Royals goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi produced a string of fine saves prior to Popa breaking away and tapping into an unguarded net.
Carvalhal said: “We did everything to win the game. We gave the maximum and we deserved to win.
“My players played with a fantastic attitude and created a lot of chances, even in the first half. We played 99 per cent of the second half in the offensive pitch. We played against a goalkeeper with a big inspiration tonight. It was one of the problems of the game.”
Despite their poor run of form, Carvalhal remains optimistic they can finish the season strongly.
“We don’t give up,” he stressed. “We are still alive.
“We will be focused on the last eight games to try and achieve the points to achieve a good position at the end.”