Boss Carlos Carvalhal hailed the performance of Daniel Pudil after Wednesday’s crucial victory over title-chasing Newcastle United.
Carvalhal handed Pudil a surprise first-team recall in Saturday’s clash against the Magpies and the left-back, making his first appearance since February 18, put in an accomplished display.
A number of injuries and loss of form culminated in Pudil falling behind Morgan Fox and Adam Reach in the pecking order for a starting spot.
But the Czech Republic international looked back to his best in the Owls’ weekend win over Newcastle and scooped the man-of-the-match award.
Carvalhal told The Star: “I knew the risk of playing Daniel. He was not having a very good season before. He was not in good shape and he stayed out of the team.
“I know if we hadn’t beaten Newcastle everybody would kick me about why I played Daniel and so on.
“But Daniel has trained really well over the last two to three weeks and played with a lot of confidence. He’s an experienced player and we didn’t have any problem playing him and he was the best player on the pitch.”
Pudil could not hide his joy over helping the Owls complete their first league double over the Magpies in 30 years.
He said: “It was a difficult game. I hadn’t played for a couple of weeks. I just tried to do my best.
“I think we did well and the guys helped me.
“I’m really happy with the result because we are back in the top six. I’m really happy for the result. We needed it.”
It was Jordan Rhodes who made way for Pudil, with Reach switching to left wing. Carvalhal likened the decision to leave out Rhodes to when he dropped Portugal international Hugo Almeida when he was in charge of Besiktas. Carvalhal opted to deploy Ricardo Quaresma, primarily a winger, as a striker in their Europa League encounter with Braga and Besiktas prevailed 2-0.
“I’m not afraid to make decisions,” said Carvalhal. “I do the decisions that I understand are best for the team. I trust in all the players and I never look at the cost of the players.”