Alan Biggs: Back Carlos Carvalhal to seal a top-six spot for Sheffield Wednesday
Nobody needs to tell Carlos Carvalhal about expectations in football and what happens if they are not fulfilled.
He’s had 16 tenures in management and his current one, at Sheffield Wednesday, has lasted the longest.
“I will go when someone kicks my ass,” he told me in a recent interview. And a few kicks are being aimed in that general direction amid a current run – one win in six matches - that is plainly not good enough.
A rash of sackings elsewhere – Norwich, Derby etc. – has emboldened those who would wish Dejphon Chansiri to try shock resuscitation therapy. Chansiri did, after all, pledge promotion in two years and has spent lavishly to achieve it.
But the owner, with whom I believe Carvalhal retains an excellent relationship, is not the “someone” the head coach will fear. It’s the power of public opinion.
As he also said: “If the people are tired of me and think I am not the person to be in the club, I will be the first one to say I am starting to leave.”
But he clearly isn’t. His team are sixth with the play-offs still in their hands. Do the majority of fans really want him out? Or is it, as you strongly suspect, the always louder minority?
Chansiri is a hard man to second guess.
But I do know he is a proud man and also a principled one. He would know that to sack his surprise choice of “manager” would equally represent admission of personal failure.
Which is not to say he can’t be ruthless. But if there was such a time it would be in the international break.
If it’s not happening now – and there are no signs of a kneejerk - then it won’t while the ball is still in play.
Besides, Carvalhal hasn’t failed yet, has he?
Surely he’s earned a full and competitive second season after the joys of the first?
Make no mistake, Carvalhal WILL have failed and he will know it if Wednesday finish outside the top six.
I doubt very much if he would survive that, or even dipping in the play-offs.
Right now, I believe he has enough support, from chairman, players and fans, to finish the season strongly.
Not everything is wrong. The circumstances of defeat to Reading would have been viewed differently during a better run.
Wednesday weren’t brilliant as a whole against Norwich, just scored brilliant goals in that 5-1 win.
At least last Friday they were pushing more players into the opposition box and demanding more of an opposition goalkeeper than in most games this season.
They also started poorly (again), conceded sloppily, missed chances and, whether by design or not, fielded wingers who were sucked inside.
Cards on the table, a few weeks ago I thought the Owls would finish third or fourth. Will they now? No.
Would I sack Carvalhal? No. He and Wednesday have come this far. Back him - with much missed players returning - to take that sixth spot.