Carlos Carvalhal is wasting no time at all in trying to inspire a huge turnaround at Swansea City, having already taken two training sessions since he signed a 6-month contract on Wednesday morning.
The former Sheffield Wednesday boss told the media in Thursday`s press conference how he was a “little bit tired” following his five-hour drive through the night to take the job. And in between that long drive and the press conference at 2:30pm, he had already met the players and undertaken his first training session.
There`s been no lack of doubt and underwhelming response from some Swans fans about his appointment. Yes, there was obviously no plan in place for a quick replacement for Paul Clement – seeing as Carvalhal was still in a job when Paul was shown the door, but we move on and welcome the Portuguese with open arms.
Gareth Vincent interviewed the new boss as part of the club’s Youtube channel, and asked if the Swans fans will be singing his name in three months time, as the Portuguese spoke about how soon fans have done so at his previous clubs. Three months? I’d give it 3 minutes within the first home game on Tuesday night against Spurs.
I`ve been called negative at times, but I`m always automatically positive when a new manager comes in. The only exception to that rule was when Bob Bradley was appointed. I`ve agreed with previous sackings except Guidolin`s after 7 games into a season, and therefore have welcomed a new manager in the hope that they can inspire improvement and an upturn of form.
Out of the bookies top favourites, who is your preferred choice for new #Swans manager?
— Vital Swansea #BackToJack (@VitalSwansea) December 28, 2017
To those fans who question his appointment, I have to ask – who out there would have been any better? Tony Pulis? Frank de Boer? Slaven Bilic? I don`t know about you but none of those are preferable over Carvalhal in my eyes.
Why? All of them have recently been sacked by Premier League clubs, one of them would adopt similar football to Clement, de Boer couldn’t even get his Palace side to score and did nothing at Inter, while Bilic failed to get the balance right at West Ham. Carvalhal – another manager who arrives in South Wales without any Premier League experience whatsoever – so no change there. it appears that he left Hillsborough by mutual consent, rather than getting the sack which is the wide consensus.
Carlos has had success playing the brand of football that we`ve been craving for for three years or so. While I don`t expect us to start playing attractive football overnight, but we`ll at least (hopefully) be more positive and energetic with and without the ball a Our cautiousness and defend-first mindset under Paul Clement has held us back, but on the flipside he was fully aware of the lack of attacking quality within the squad to adopt a more attacking approach.
Having said that, Clement leaned far too much to the negative. Happy to keep the ball in our own half without a clue what to do when they`d surprisingly made it to the edge of the final third. Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright wondered if the team were even “training with the goals”. I can`t remember what defeat he was commenting on, too many to choose from.
We were also bottom of the distance covered charts earlier in the season, and it wouldn`t surprise me at all if we were still down there given our recent lethargic and half-arsed displays of late.
The early signs show that Carvalhal is the type of personality that we need to inspire the sort of performances we need that might just give us a glimmer of hope of survival. You couldn`t be blamed for giving up about avoiding relegation, but the very least the fans want to see in the remaining games is players not giving up, looking like they actually care and want to win. The recent 5-0 thrashing at Liverpool was the worst example of that, but there’s been far too many examples to choose from.
Carvalhal`s first training session video was actually one that was worth watching. It wasn`t the usual three minutes of the players walking to the pitch, jogging and then doing the usual basic drills. This was one was focused on the new head coach, as he was fully involved in trying to implement some of his principles and methods. Come to think of it, Bob Bradley`s first training session was similar in that it was focused on him mainly, but the difference between the two is vast to say the least.
One of the first drills we see is Carvalhal demonstrating an in-your-face press, as he sprints towards one of his new coaches to apply close pressure as soon as he receives the ball. This will be very different to what they were doing under Paul Clement, who very rarely instructed his team to do such energetic, high pressing.
Next, Carvalhal continues his motivational involvement in the session, and is amongst an attacking, passing drill that ends with Rangel proving a simple squared pass for Narsingh to easily finish. The new boss then follows with a “We can do this better!” cry.
Later we see his desire for passing “very quick” and the word “attack” repeatedly mentioned before the video ends. It`s still only a tiny glimpse of a training session, but there were some positive signs that can only be seen as a positive at this early stage.
If Paul Clement`s survival job last season was good, Carvalhal`s this year would be worthy of the manager of the year award – it really is that tough a challenge, but one that Carlos was attracted to, having revealed that he had plenty of offers from “different parts of the world”, but he decided to sign a short-term deal with the team bottom of the Premier League table with seemingly no hope of staying up.
But if he can – at the very least inspire some actual effort and desire from the players – then that would a welcomed start because up until now – we`re going down in embarrassing and shameful fashion.