Sheffield Wednesday is Carlos Carvalhal’s 16th tenure in management.
He’s lasted 15 months to enter his longest-ever stretch in charge of the same team. That alone is vindication of the “Carlos who?” appointment Dejphon Chansiri sprang on a disbelieving football world on last June though in reality the secret was out well ahead.
Now the Portuguese coach is well placed to rip up his nomadic career pattern by keeping pace with an owner hell bent on promotion in their second season together. But crucially, as I suggested at the start of his reign, this a guy seemingly unshackled from the fear that grips most managers. After 14 clubs (one of them twice) in as many years, he had nothing to lose.
Carvalhal’s team plays in the same spirit, albeit precariously on occasions during a season in which he is noticeably gravitating back to most of the side that served him so well last time with only Steven Fletcher and Adam Reach, of the summer signings, seriously threatening the status quo.
Last Saturday, trailing for the fourth home game running despite a much improved first half, produced a telling example of his management style. Carvalhal told me he urged his players not to get the ball forward quickly to please the crowd. “I asked them at the break to show their personality and I said we must play our football,” he remarked after the latest comeback delivered a 2-1 victory over Forest.
But the rare clean sheet of the 1-0 at Blackburn was welcome too. Roll on more of both.