Carvalhal: A view from Hillsborough…

We speak to Steve Walmsley from Independent Sheffield Wednesday Fanzine War of the Monster Trucks, about the Swans appointing Carlos Calvalhal as the club’s new manager. Carvalhal managed Wednesday between 2015 and 2017, reaching the Championship Play-off Final least season.

Were you surprised by the recent departure of Carlos Carvalhal and was it the right decision?
No, and yes it was the right decision. He should really have gone after the play-off defeat at the end of last season. The team stagnated last season and has gone backwards this. His tactics have been worked out by other Championship managers – he has one way of playing and is very inflexible.

The last two seasons saw you finish in the Play-Offs but this year hasn’t been so good. What’s gone wrong?
Recruitment since May 2016 has been poor – the core of his best side is the one we had then. The squad is too old, unfit and prone to injury, and not hungry enough. The flaws started to appear last season and were masked by 7 wins at the end of the regular season but we only really played well in one of those games. Fans could count on one hand the games when we played well last season. He tried to grind out the play-offs but was out-thought by the Huddersfield manager. The Chairman won’t sell players but we need to sell to refresh the squad. The mentality of the squad is very flaky – they can be good but usually follow up a good performance with a poor one. Slow tempo, poor starts at home have been his biggest undoing with fans – football has been slow, dull and predictable.

What are his major strengths and weaknesses?
He is very passionate, very articulate, good at engaging with fans, good at managing the media. He is very rigid tactically, his teams are not fit enough, he defends players when he shouldn’t, when under pressure he will blame anyone or anything than question himself.

What can Swansea fans expect from him tactically?
Will play 4-4-2. Full backs will be high up the pitch. Wingers will tuck inside. One of the strikers will have to link play as a number 10. Will play the ball across the back 4 a lot! Doesn’t really have a plan b if plan a isn’t working. If it’s 15/16 Carvalhal you will be high tempo at home but poor away from home. Expect to be exposed at the back, particularly when you turn over posession!

How would you assess his record in the transfer market?
The recruitment process under CC and our Chairman is shrouded in mystery. It’s hard to know who has made the decisions – CC, Chairman or the Chairman’s coteries of advisers? But on the evidence we have seen on the pitch since May 2016 it has been poor. We have spent a lot of money on wages and transfer fees and the squad is weaker now than it was then. If a player does not in practice exactly fit in with his rigid model they are cast aside. Since leaving he has admitted he can’t motivate the fringe players and that contributed to his decision to leave. Overall, evidence is not positive.

Do you think he can keep Swansea up?
Yes, because he can have a positive impact at the start of a job. He will lift the atmosphere and create a feelgood attitude. At every other club, apart from Wednesday, he has stayed only 12 months so he doesn’t hang around. My worry for you would be next season if he stays.