Alan Biggs: Carlos Carvalhal's own version of the blame game at Sheffield Wednesday
Carlos Carvalhal will not spare himself from a searching self-examination this summer as he looks to fine-tune Sheffield Wednesday for a third promotion attempt.
The Owls head coach is justly proud of his record and, at various stages of last season, found himself defending a manner of approach that produced an upgrade in results at the expense of the more entertaining style of the previous campaign.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t subject himself and his coaching team to an analysis of where they can improve to make up the marginal shortfall in Wednesday’s play-off campaign and ways to bridge the much more sizeable gap of 12 and 13 points on promoted pair Brighton and Newcastle.
Indeed, the pretty clear signal from the club at all levels is that top two has to be the aim from the off next time.
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Carvalhal won’t shy away from that, just as he has been keen to put a mood of disappointment into the correct context of a club making progress throughout the two years of his alliance with owner Dejphon Chansiri.
At the heart of it has been an excellent team spirit and that speaks of good man-management.
Carvalhal seldom criticises his players individually or collectively.
Equally, he is not conspicuous for pointing the finger at himself for selection or tactics – but it’s there is plenty of soul-searching in private.
In a rare recent insight on this, he told me: “All the coaches of the world make mistakes.
“Some of them recognise, some of them recognise nothing. I can recognise the mistake I did, no problem. Sometimes it’s our fault, not the players. Sometimes we don’t cover a problem.”
But if the blame does lie with the players there is no shouting or finger-pointing immediately afterwards. Carvalhal “hates” that with a passion, drawing from his own playing career in a reference to wild accusations being made in the heat of the moment.
“I can shout if needed but never after a game,” says Carvalhal, who often beats the media to post-match press conferences after confining himself to “giving congratulations or comfort” to his players.
“I imagine that in the past when they lose a game the manager will shout them or something. I never do that here or any place.
“You know why? Because when I play I hate when the manager do that. Because I give everything on the pitch... I give everything but I don’t play well all the time.”
Carvalhal saves it for the next day when “the emotion is more down and I understand what happened.”
Half-time is different: “At the break I can effect things. After the game I will move nothing.”
He was known to move water bottles a considerable distance during half-time of one game in his first season! The passion is there. But it seems Carlos can turn it on or off at the flick of a switch. A man cannot control others if he is not in control of himself.
As for transfers, some may not have spotted the position of this column’s tongue in relation to its cheek regarding some aspects of last week’s knockabout piece.
Only thing to add is that no news does not equate to inaction behind the scenes. As proven in the past, this is a regime that prefers action to words.