'We have to find a balance'

15th February 2018
First team

Carlos Carvalhal is planning to shuffle his pack once again this weekend as he leads Swansea City back to former club Sheffield Wednesday.

The Swans will fight it out with Carvalhal’s former employers for a place in the last eight of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday lunchtime.

Should they triumph, the Swans would be through to the quarter-finals of the cup for the first time since 1964.

But Carvalhal is planning to shake his team up – as he has done in the Swans’ previous four cup ties – because staying in the Premier League is his primary concern.

“Maybe for me as a manager, it would be fantastic to win a trophy,” he said.

“But I am not selfish, and I know the most important thing for the club is to stay in the Premier League.

“I went to Wembley with Sheffield Wednesday (in the Championship play-off final) and I liked it there.

“I would love to go back and I believe that in the course of my career I will do that, whether it is this season, next season or another season.

“But the cup is not our priority. Our priority is to stay in the Premier League and we will make changes to our team because we do not want to take any risks.”

Carvalhal overhauled his team for the two ties against Championship leaders Wolves in round three and again in the fourth round against Notts County.

And though the Swans do not return to league action until a week on Saturday at Brighton, the Portuguese is set to rest some frontline players once again.

“We will try to put out a strong side which is good enough to progress to the next round,” Carvalhal added.

“But also we have to protect the players who have little problems and can pick up injuries.

“I must be responsible and not use players who could have problems in the future, then end up losing two or three of them for the rest of the season.

“We have to achieve a balance. We must respect the cup and respect Sheffield Wednesday and try to pick a good team, but we must not take any risks.

“That’s what we have done in the past in the cup and that’s what we will do again.”

Carvalhal made seven changes for the Swans’ most recent cup tie, the replay against Notts County last week.

His new-look team got the job done in emphatic fashion, rattling in eight goals to secure the Swans’ biggest win since 1984.

Now a number of the same players could be charged with steering the Swans into the last eight of the cup for the first time since the club’s 1963-64 run to the semi-finals.

“I trust in all the players,” Carvalhal said.

“We have a competitive squad – the value of the players is similar – and I believe in all of them.

“If we go out of this cup, it is not the end of the world. But we will try our best to get to the next stage.”