JOSE MOURINHO may be considered to be a friend and a mentor by new Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal.
But the 49-year-old has a clear message for those wanting to pigeon-hole him with the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’: “Jose is my friend. But Jose is Jose, and I am Carlos. We are completely different people and personalities.”
That last comment about the two Portuguese being very different may come as a relief to the referees and fourth officials in next season’s Championship, but the new Owls chief is very much an unashamed fan of a manager who last season lifted the Premier League title for a third time.
“To me, Jose is the best coach in the world,” said Carvalhal. “All the time, he is champion. There are a lot of coaches that win one competition but he has won in Milan, at Chelsea, in Porto. He is one of the few coaches in the world who can do that.”
Carvalhal, who completed his Pro-licence coaching badges with Mourinho, may very much be his own man when it comes to management. But he admits to following closely how not only Mourinho operates but also all the Chelsea backroom team.
“I’m a very good friend of Rui Faria, Jose’s No 2 coach,” said Carvalhal. “We studied in the same university, we specialised in football together and studied for five years together.
“All the coaches at Chelsea want his (Mourinho) success. We have different ways of playing football, and that is normal. But we have similar ideas of how to prepare the team, with Rui Faria being my team-mate at university.”
Asked if he had been in contact with anyone at Stamford Bridge since taking charge at Hillsborough, the club’s new head coach replied: “We have talked, but more with Rui. It was in the last few days and about the Championship, about the environment, a lot of things.”
Carvalhal took on board all the advice of his good friend Faria. But he has also arrived in south Yorkshire with plenty of his own experience from a coaching career featuring stints in both Greece and Turkey along with his home country.
It is his time with Besiktas that truly stands out.
“Turkey was very tough,” said Carvalhal, who has already coined the phrase ‘the massive’ when referring to Owls fans.
“My time at Besiktas, it is a long story. I tell you it all one day. But you wouldn’t believe the environment I worked in.
“I substituted a coach (Tayfur Havutcu) who went to jail over a scandal in a final of the Cup. My staff was the staff of the coach who went to jail. I started working like that and after the coach got out of jail in November or December, he wanted to come back. I said, of course, it is your place. But the fans, because we were doing fantastic, didn’t accept this so I stayed at the club with the staff from the coach who was now a technical director.
“I worked in this environment and we did very well. In Europa League, we won in the group stage for the first time.
“Afterwards, we beat Braga who had been in the final the year before. We went out to Atletico Madrid, who won the Europa League that season.
“We put the team in the play-offs at the end, too. In those conditions, it is why the Besiktas fans were patient with me and that is how I survived in that kind of jungle for a long time.
“I had a good connection with the fans. Like ‘the massive’ here, that support was important to me. It is why I want ‘the massive’ to be on our side here.”
The Owls last night signed Celta Vigo midfielder Alex Lopez on a season-long loan, and goalkeeper Lewis Price on a free.