Time to dream, says Carlos
Carlos Carvalhal saluted his players – and told them to dream of a trip to Wembley – after Swansea City booked a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
The Swans are through to the last eight of the competition for the first time since way back in 1964 after second-half goals from Jordan Ayew and Nathan Dyer sealed a 2-0 victory over Carvalhal’s former club.
The Wednesday win was the Swans’ sixth in succession on home soil in all competitions – their best run at the Liberty Stadium since 2007.
And it means they are now just one game away from a trip to Wembley in the semi-finals of the cup, with either Spurs or Rochdale standing in their way.
“I am very happy and very proud of my players,” Carvalhal said.
“I was born in 1965. The club didn’t do better than this in the cup since 1964, so it’s been a long, long time.
“I am happy we have achieved this. Now we will play either Rochdale or Tottenham at home and we could go to Wembley, so we are in a very good position.”
Asked whether he will allow his players to contemplate the idea of cup glory when staying in the Premier League is their primary task this spring, Carvalhal was quite clear.
The Swans boss opened his blazer and pointed to some words embroidered on the inside pocket.
“I have ‘Carlos had a dream’ written here in my jacket,” he explained.
“All of us have dreams – the people who don’t have dreams are not happy people I think.
“The main competition for us is the Premier League, but we will have a week to prepare for the quarter-final, which is important, and we are near (to the end of the competition) now.
“We have 90 minutes to try to get Wembley so let’s see what happens.”
The Swans did not have it easy against the Owls, who came closest to scoring in a fairly even first half.
But the hosts carried more menace going forward in the second period, and took the lead on 55 minutes when Ayew swept home after Tom Carroll’s shot ricocheted off both posts.
Dyer then sealed victory as he latched on to Tammy Abraham’s pass to fire through the keeper’s legs.
“Sheffield Wednesday created problems for us in the first game and also tonight,” Carvalhal added.
“But I thought we had more opportunities in this game. We needed a bit more intensity and a bit more speed in the second half, and that’s why we put Jordan and Martin Olsson on at half-time.
“We felt after a couple of minutes that we could score and we did that.
“Sheffield Wednesday reacted well. They put three attackers on and played some long balls, but we defended very well.
“Then we got the second goal because they were opening up some spaces and after that we closed the doors and the windows to finish the game.”