Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal is proud that his team have secured a play-off spot, despite being “outsiders” for promotion.
The Owls comfortably beat Cardiff 3-0 on Saturday to guarantee a top-six finish in the Championship.
“I said from the beginning that we were outsiders this season,” said Carvalhal, who took charge in June 2015.
“We achieved this place because we have a fantastic group of players. We are one as a team.”
The Portuguese head coach, who has managed extensively in his home country and also had a spell in charge of Turkish club Besiktas, thinks his side are in good form for a play-off campaign that could see them return to the top flight for the first time in 16 years.
“We feel strong at the moment, like at the beginning of the season,” added Carvalhal. “We saw that today. We saw the reaction when we lost the ball – we were like dogs.
“We have a lot of goals in our team but we have also equalled the record for clean sheets at the club, it’s something we are happy with. We’ve found a balance.”
A second-half brace from Gary Hooper and an own goal from Lee Peltier ensured that Wednesday have an unassailable seven-point lead over Cardiff, who are one place below them in the table.
“Getting to the play-offs is the work of a lot of people,” he said. “The players, the chairman, the fans who turn out home and away.
“We are the team that have a new coach, a new philosophy, we’ve changed a lot.”