Portuguese managers have become an endangered species in English football over the last week. The dismissal of Jose Mourinho by Chelsea has cut their number in half.
While Mourinho was subject to a long, drawn out departure, the discussion over whether Carlos Carvalhal might need to have his conservation status increased to threatened has just begun.
The cold hard facts for Sheffield Wednesday read as follows: they have only won one of their last eight in all competitions, losing three times and drawing on four occasions.
Carvalhal is not worried, batting away a question on Friday discussing his future at Hillsborough. The defeat against a struggling MK Dons on Tuesday may have set alarm bells ringing for some, but Carvalhal is more reflective.
In fact, in his eyes, a coach learns more from a loss than they do a victory. If anything, a win can be dangerous for someone’s outlook on their own team.
“A coach has to think slightly differently to the fans,” he said.
“When we lose, we can see the positive things, and when we win we can see the negative things also. All of the games have positive and negative things.
“That is why I say all of the time that the biggest enemy of a coach is victories, because you think that everybody is okay. It is not like this. All of the time you must correct things.”
For Carvalhal, the loss against Karl Robinson’s side has shown him that his team have the right attitude. The Owls spent 35 minutes playing with 10 men after Michael Turner left the field with an injury. In that time they scored and came very close to an equaliser.
“In the MK Dons game, the way we reacted in the second half, even with the problems, we pressed the opponent,” he said.
“It means in the minimum that the spirit and the will to win is inside our team. It is why I said that we lost the game but we did not lose the fact that we are like a team. It was the positive of the last game.”
Explaining how it bodes well for the visit of Wolves, he continued: “On Sunday, we must take the positive of the game, the will to win, and we must try to win this difficult match. I am sure we will do that.”
Carvalhal clearly believes in an attacking philosophy.
He was disappointed with his side’s display in the first half on Tuesday, primarily because they never particularly looked like scoring. The head coach demands a goal-driven outlook.
That may work out for Wednesday today. Wolves looked at their best on Thursday when Leeds United dropped deep and tried to defend and at their most abject when their opponents pressed, harried and tried to score.
Focusing on goals is part of Carvalhal’s outlook, and he is proud of his team’s record in front of the net so far this campaign.
He said: “We say to the players, we are positive, we try to score goals. If you analyse the game against Bolton, against Derby, they are not games in which we did not score goals.
“Even in pre-season we scored goals in all of the games that we played. We did not against Stoke, but we did against Arsenal, against Newcastle. We scored goals in most of the games.
“It means that all of the time we have on our minds to try and win games and try to score goals. Sometimes, things are not as we prepare and how we wished.
“We must always have a plan B to try and win the game. Never in my life have I gone into a game and tried to draw. Never.
“Even when I was in Portugal and played in the cup final against a team from the top division with a team from division three, we went to the final to try and win.”
Wolves have a shorter recovery period than the Owls, having played only three nights before they turn up at Hillsborough.
That could imply Carvalhal will have a fresher team at his disposal, but he expressed his shock at how players in England recover from games and his belief it is more important his side approach tomorrow correctly themselves.
“In my country, I would say it was absolutely 100 per cent an advantage,” he said.
“In Turkey, the same. In Greece, the same. In the Emirates, the same. In England, I do not think so. The players recover here completely differently.
“I do not know if it will be an advantage. I don’t want to think it is an advantage. I think we must do our work, put our energy into it and try to win the game. Without this, I am not sure.”
One player that he might choose to call upon is Gary Hooper. The Norwich City loanee finally got off the mark for Wednesday against MK Dons after eight games in a blue and white shirt. In Hooper’s defence, he arrived at Hillsborough after an ankle injury.
His impressive display from the bench reflected his fitness and the fact that Carvalhal believes he is increasingly ready for first-team action.
“Gary Hooper is improving day by day, giving signals,” he said,
“He has had two games, three games where he has affected the game. We wish and he also wishes that when he came here he was more ready to play. It was not the reality.
“He did not play for a long time, so he did not have good fitness. It is not easy to have the fitness for the way we play, because we want a high-intensity type of play.
“I feel now that he is much better than he was three or four weeks ago. He is a player that is ready, but it depends on our strategy for the games to decide whether he plays from the first minute or after.”
Wednesday have the benefit of two home games in a row, an opportunity to make a real run at the play-off places. For Carvalhal, “this is something important.”
He continued: “When we play at Hillsborough with our massive fans, we look more strong. It is a fantastic environment.
“They push the team up and the players give a good answer most of the time. This means we are strong when we play at home.”