Sheffield Wednesday: How former Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal has transformed Swansea City's fortunes
He has put 'all the meat in the barbecue' and engineered a remarkable Swansea revival.
Now Carlos Carvalhal is preparing to take his Swans side to Sheffield Wednesday, with a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup up for grabs.
Not only has the ex-Owls boss lit up the Premier League with his colourful analogies and bubbly personality, he has also overseen an extraordinary turnaround in Swansea’s fortunes.
Carvalhal, who managed Wednesday from June 2015 to December 2017, has won six matches, drawn four and lost only one in all competitions since succeeding Paul Clement at the helm. Swansea currently lie in 16th position, one point clear of the relegation zone.
I spoke to Mat Davies, the head of sport at Wales Online, to get his view on the impact Carvalhal has made in South Wales.
What was the reaction from Swansea fans when they appointed him?
The support base was fairly underwhelmed, considering he had just been sacked from a Championship club. But many fans were in favour of change, and with Paul Clement struggling to get Swansea ticking, it was the correct decision in many people’s eyes. Hindsight is a great tool, but I don’t think many supporters were swinging from the lampshades when he arrived, especially with relegation a very real possibility.
How surprised have you been by how well he has done?
Very. Swansea have put together their best sequence of results since the 2009-10 season, all amid the pressure-cooker environment of a relegation battle.
He has masterminded wins over Liverpool and Arsenal, and has only lost one game to date - to Spurs - who they even troubled for periods in that game.
Carvalhal has been a breath of fresh air after a turgid period under Clement where the same things were happening over and over again.
His positivity has infected the club from top to bottom.
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What has been the secret to their success?
As mentioned above, his personality has been infectious, but it would be naive to say it was just down to his quips and mannerisms.
He has encouraged Swansea to get forward, attack with verve, and has given the shackled players licence to be forward-thinking.
Players such as Jordan Ayew and Sam Clucas look like different animals.
Jamie Carragher’s analysis on Monday Night Football summed them up well. They are markedly improved with and without the ball.
How big an achievement would it be in Swansea’s recent history if Carvalhal manages to keep them up?
Well, Clement did exactly the same thing last season.
He turned round a sinking ship too - but he did it with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente in the ranks.
Carvalhal is working with a depleted squad that is still unbalanced.
Whatever, though, another great escape is on the cards, and if he pulls it off, you have to think he’ll get the job for next season too.