Swansea hired Carlos Carvalhal as its fifth manager in barely two years on Thursday with the task of keeping the disjointed team in the Premier League.
The 52-year-old Carvalhal arrives in south Wales having parted company with second-tier northern English club Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday following a seven-game winless run that led to fans calling for his dismissal.
Swansea has taken a gamble on the journeyman Portuguese coach with no previous Premier League coaching experience despite being bottom of the standings and five points from safety with 18 games remaining.
“In this moment, maybe if you ask 100 people who follow football, they will say Swansea are going to get relegated,” Carvalhal said. “This is the general idea. Maybe some people will say we need a miracle. But when things are in the hands of men, it’s not a miracle you need.
“It’s in our hands and we can manage things. We don’t need divine help. We need strong commitment to move things forward. I promise we will try very hard to change things around.”
Carvalhal has only been given a contract for the second half of the season at Swansea, but there is an option to extend it. Swansea has won one of its last 12 games, with the latest loss a 5-0 collapse at Liverpool on Tuesday.
“It will be tough,” Carvalhal said, “and we will need the support of everybody.”
Especially from restless American owners Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien who fired Paul Clement last week before he completed a year in charge.
“We felt we needed to get the managerial situation resolved as soon as possible and while the timing is not always perfect, we can look forward to the second half of the campaign with renewed optimism,” Swanseachairman Huw Jenkins said.
Carvalhal’s mission is to keep Swansea from being relegated into a division he couldn’t get out of at Sheffield Wednesday. The inability to gain promotion did not deter Swansea, having impressed at Hillsborough by constructing a hard-working team playing free-flowing football and with an attacking mentality.
“Carlos’ time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive playoff places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time,” Jenkins said.
It’s not the first time hiring Carvalhal has seemed a gamble. He had been out of work for three years when he was handed his first job in England in 2015 by Sheffield Wednesday.
Before then, he had mostly drifted around jobs in Portuguese leagues but there were also stints in Greece and Turkey.
Among the career highlights was leading third-tier Portuguese club Leixoes into the now-defunct UEFA Cup in 2002 after reaching the final of the Portuguese Cup. He later steered Vitoria Setubal into the Portuguese top flight, returned to the UEFA Cup via a sixth-place finish and won the Portuguese League Cup.
His highest profile jobs came between 2009 and 2012 when he coached Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas in Turkey.
“He has built up a lot of experience over the years which will ensure the team is structured and organized,” Jenkins said. “He is driven and ambitious and while he has a big challenge ahead of him, I know he will tackle it without fear.”