GLENN LOOVENS admits to being totally in the dark about Carlos Carvalhal last summer.
In fact, Shefield Wednesday’s captain’s first act on the Portuguese being unveiled was to Google the new man and find out what he could about someone whose managerial career had been exclusively spent on the continent.
Ten months on, however, and Loovens is adamant that Wednesday could not have made a better appointment.
Watch the video to see Richard Sutcliffe give his verdict on the impact had by Carlos Carvalhal since joining the Owls
“No, I didn’t,” said the Dutch defender when asked if he knew anything at all about Carvalhal last June.
“I have to be honest about that. I looked him up but you have to wait and see how someone is going to be – and after this season, we can all agree he is the right man for the job.”
Carvalhal’s CV featured 14 clubs in as many years before he was the surprise choice of chairman Dejphon Chansiri to succeed Stuart Gray. The last of those had been a two-year spell in Dubai as technical director of Al-Ahli.
It hardly smacked of Wednesday getting one of Europe’s top coaches, even if Carvalhal, a defender in his playing career, had completed his Pro-Licence alongside countryman Jose Mourinho. Loovens, though, spotted the qualities of the new man very early.
“He was very relaxed from the start,” added the Owls captain. “Straightaway, he told us the way he likes to play. You have to give him credit for that, he brought in his team. He signed very good squad players, players who can make the difference. Overall, everyone should be really pleased with Carlos.”
A feature of Carvalhal’s year at Hillsborough has been his attempts at keeping things low-key.
“He is not one for idle boasts, nor someone who will try to talk up his side at the expense of the opposition. Instead, Wednesday are portrayed as underdogs and Loovens believes this has suited the players.
“Nobody really expected from the last few seasons that we should do so well,” said the 32-year-old, one of the club’s longest-serving players after joining in January, 2014. “Carlos is a down-to-earth guy, normal – and that maybe helps to keep the pressure off.
“We get on very well. He is a very easy manager to talk to and if you have concerns, the door is always open. He is very clear in his approach.”
Loovens also has praise for chairman Chansiri, whose millions have bankrolled Wednesday’s huge upturn in fortunes.
“He has been prepared to spend money,” he added. “Let’s be honest, it was needed. The chairman has made this possible.”