Carlos Carvalhal has spoken of the positivity he feels around the club as Wednesday prepare for the Championship play-off first leg semi-final with Brighton in front of a packed Hillsborough on Friday night.
We have sold out all home areas of the ground – including the Leppings Lane lower tier – with Brighton allocated 2000 seats in the upper tier (although they had still not sold out by Thursday evening).
Carvalhal said he prefers to play the first leg of such contests at home, adding: “There is something in the air very positive between the players and the fans and it can be a very good night in Hillsborough tomorrow.
“The fans have had a long time without reason to smile and enjoy. We can feel they are enjoying things now.”
He urged the supporters to “create the same positive environment” as they did in the important 3-0 win over Cardiff last month, saying: “If you do, then you give confidence to the players and they will give a big answer.”
Reflecting on the season, Carvalhal said: “What we have achieved so far is absolutely amazing in my opinion. We have 16 or 17 new players – a new team – and a new coach.”
Returning to the two-game showdown with Brighton, the head coach says he believes Wednesday are a stronger squad than when we played the Seagulls during the Championship season. He said we find ourselves as underdogs in the play-offs and without the pressure of other clubs who have been in the top six all season, adding: “Our team likes this type of challenge and we are looking forward to it.”
Wednesday should be at full strength for the first leg after Carvalhal rested most of the first choice starting line-up for last weekend’s final league game of the season at Wolves.