Sheffield Wednesday: Carlos Carvalhal’s pride in his staying power

Carlos Carvalhal salutes the fans at the end of the regular season at Hillsborough
Carlos Carvalhal salutes the fans at the end of the regular season at Hillsborough
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Carlos Carvalhal has described as ‘priceless’ the backing he has received at Sheffield Wednesday and says that was what made him stay on at Hillsborough for a third year.

The Owls head coach finished his second season in charge in fourth place in the Championship, two positions higher than in his first.

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

After it became apparent that Carvalhal’s contract would run out at the end of the campaign, there were rumours of a return to Portugal or a job at a higher level.

However, Carvalhal says the support he has received in his time in South Yorkshire, helped make up his mind to agree a new deal.

“I realised people wanted me to stay, regardless of promotion,” Carvalhal told Portuguese newspaper Diário Record. “(Dejphon Chansiri) was counting on me, and the understanding of continuity was quick even before these rumours appeared. I gave him my word but said we would decide after knowing what the fans and the players thought.

“When the season was over, I saw most of the fans asking me to stay, and the captain knocked on the door on the last day saying the players wanted me to stay. I did not let the rumours grow and I renewed. The desire to train the Premier League is no greater than training a club that I like and where they like me, where they sing my name, where players like to work with me, and this is priceless.”

Carlos Carvalhal and his team salute the traveling fans after a draw at Huddersfield in the play-off semi-final first leg

Carlos Carvalhal and his team salute the traveling fans after a draw at Huddersfield in the play-off semi-final first leg

The cut-throat world of football management is no less pressurised in the Championship and the fact that Carvalhal is now one of the longest serving managers in the division is testament to that.

And it is something that the 51 year-old takes immense pride in. While Carvalhal states that he is the third longest, he’s actually fourth, since the promotion of Millwall to the Championship, whose boss Neil Harris was appointed 253 days before him.

Aside from Harris, only Mick McCarthy at Ipswich and Simon Grayson at Preston have been with their clubs longer.

“Staying two years in a club is a huge achievement for a manager today,” he said. “Staying in such a competitive league for two years, out of the top places, and staying for a third year, is really fantastic.

“Being the third oldest does not surprise me, because the difficulties are enormous. Sixth place in the first year, fourth in the second, knowing that expectations are higher in the third year.

“Expectations are one of the main enemies of managers, but we accepted the feat without fear. Let’s try to walk upstairs, aiming to move up and improve the fourth place from last year. If we do not succeed, it will not be for lack of commitment or attitude.”