“The system is not important. It’s about the principles of the team: what you must do when you win the ball, what you must do when you lose the ball. What you must do when you win the ball and you go to attack. All are more important than the system”
Carlos Carvalhal has never shied away from taking “difficult” jobs. At Sporting Lisbon, Besiktas and Swansea City, he arrived at clubs where he needed to make a big impact on the team in a very short space of time.
Swansea, for example, was languishing in the relegation zone, having won just three of their opening 18 matches in the Premier League when Carvalhal took over at the end of 2017. The former Sheffield Wednesday manager had just two days with the team before his first game in charge against Watford, but it was enough to inspire the Swans to a 2-1 victory. They lost their next game to Tottenham but went on to pick up another 17 points from their remaining 16 games in the league, collecting impressive wins against Liverpool and Arsenal. Their battle against relegation was lost on the final day of the season, but Carvalhal was lauded for the impact he made on a side that looked dead and buried at Christmas.
Here, in an exclusive piece with The Coaches’ Voice, the Portuguese manager describes his approach to working in these difficult situations and how he gets a group of players to buy into his ideas when time is of the essence.