“For a manager, no matter the result, at a press conference you need to come out as the winner.”
So said legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson when lifting the lid on his leadership skills at a book launch back last September.
When the Scot is not seeing his beloved Red Devils in action, Ferguson revealed one of his hobbies now is to watch press conferences.
“You can kill yourself in a press conference...it’s an important part of your job,” he told a packed audience.
I’m sure Ferguson, one of the finest football managers in history, approves of how Carlos Carvalhal has adapted to English football and handled his media duties this season.
Win, lose or draw, Carvalhal’s demeanour has remained the same. He doesn’t get too high when they win or too low after a setback.
Indeed, Carvalhal never gets rattled by a question. He is an unflappable individual. In his press conferences, there is only ever one winner.
It would have been easy for Carvalhal to have lost his temper in front of the TV cameras at Hull City after Fernando Forestieri’s contentious sending off. It was a shocker of a refereeing decision and he could have rightly kicked off.
Yes, Carvalhal voiced his displeasure over the officiating call, but he kept his emotions in check, explaining in detail why Forestieri had to take evasive action. Given his best player had been sent off for the second match running for simulation, Carvalhal handled himself with class and dignity.
You could have forgiven Carvalhal for feeling the strain a little after a five-match winless run. It was a blip and Wednesday’s play-off spot was starting to look under serious threat ahead of Saturday’s clash at Nottingham Forest, with the chasing pack having moved to within touching distance.
But whether through his quirky metaphors, having a dig at referees or playing down promotion talk, Carvalhal always manages to take the pressure off his players. They rose to the occasion at Forest, producing a big display when they needed it the most.
“You have to give a message to your fans,” said Ferguson.
Nine times out of 10, Carvalhal succeeds at getting his point across in a pre or post-match press conference - even if that means turning the spotlight on himself.
Carvalhal is an experienced campaigner and his ability to relax the squad could be pivotal in the tense final stages of the season.