Sheffield Wednesday: The driving force behind Carlos Carvalhal’s methods

Carlos Carvalhal was a philosophy student in his youth
Carlos Carvalhal was a philosophy student in his youth
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Question everything.

That is the mantra by which Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal has operated his entire footballing life.

Not content with merely following the instructions of coaches, the younger Carvalhal wanted to know why certain methods were used and orders given.

By the time he took his first coaching job at the age of 32, the Portuguese had developed his own football philosophy which has gradually evolved into the style of play and approach to the game he has deployed since arriving at Hillsborough.

“I created my own methodology in football because all the time I questioned everything,” he told the Star. “When I played football, it was important.

“When the coaches did something, I thought why? Why do it this way? I would ask the coach because I wanted to know.

“I started to understand things and I questioned other things. Why is it not like this?

“When I started at 32 as a coach, I did not follow anyone.

“I started training with a methodology completely different in that moment.

“Now everyone has this methodology in Portugal.

“I started training completely different from everybody. I created something completely different because I believed it would work.”

His desire to answer the great questions of the game also led him to study the great quandaries of life and the universe by studying philosophy.

Very few players in Portugal at the time combined a top flight career with university studies but Carvalhal says it is now rather common.

And even after his graduation, his questioning of everything continues to stretch beyond football.

He said: “I ask questions in football and this is philosophy, the science of why.

“I think it’s very important to question everything. I do not thing like others or follow others.

“I have my own personality, I think to myself and I have my own ideas.

“Not just in football but in life also. I think everybody must be like this.

“You must believe in something and follow your ideas.

“To do this, first of all you must discover yourself. I think a problem of a lot of people is that they do not discover themselves and accept the facts they have.

“I know me very well. I know all my defects and I accept them.

“It is why sometimes I smile or joke with myself. I have this kind of capacity. I don’t have any problem.

“You can question everything so when you question, you have answers and tests to see if you can do different.”

Carvalhal’s thoughts and theories on football were put down in his 2014 coaching manual ‘Soccer: Developing a Know-How’ written alongside Bruno Lage and Joao Mario Oliveira who are currently members of his backroom staff at Hillsborough.

It focuses on the theory of ‘tactical periodisation,’ detailing the cycling between four phases of play and putting plenty of emphasis on getting right the transitions between attacking and defender and visa versa.

There is no doubt that he is a strong believer in his methods but is he proud?

“It’s not a question of being proud,” he said.

“You must believe in yourself, your ideas.

“You must be consistent in what you are doing and be professional at the same time.

“It is why I said all the time that I’m not afraid of any questions people ask me about football.

“I can discuss anything about football with anyone. Methodology, tactics or anything.

“I’m not afraid of anything to talk about anything because it is my job. I am a professional. I must give answers.

“Even if they are correct or not, they are my ideas.

“I believe in them so I think this is most important.”