22 Feb Chris Hughton reveals admiration for Carlos Carvalhal ahead of latest meeting
Brighton manager Chris Hughton admits he is a big admirer of familiar foe Carlos Carvalhal as he prepares for a first Premier League meeting with the Portuguese coach.
Hughton faced Swansea boss Carvalhal six times during the previous two seasons when the two men were managing in the Championship.
Albion suffered play-off semi-final heartache at the hands of Carvalhal’s Sheffield Wednesday two years ago before avenging that defeat by doing the double over the Owls en route to last season’s promotion.
With Carvalhal taking over the struggling Swans four days after leaving Hillsborough in December, the pair are set to go head to head once again in Saturday’s top-flight relegation clash at the Amex Stadium.
“He’s firstly a very good manger but also a very good individual,” Hughton said of Carvalhal.
“He’s one that I’ve seen before and after all the games that we’ve played, irrespective of what the results have been.
“He’s somebody who relishes managing here in England (UK) and, as you can see by his press conferences, he’s thoroughly enjoying working in the Premier League.
“He’s a football man that very much enjoys being here and is good company.”
The first two games between the managers ended in goalless stalemates during the 2015/16 season, before Wednesday edged the play-off meeting with a 2-0 win at Hillsborough followed by a nervy 1-1 draw on the south coast.
Brighton then recorded two 2-1 victories last campaign as they won promotion as runners-up and the Owls endured more play-off frustration.
“I’ve got very fresh memories of the play-offs because it was a game that I experienced – most of us experienced – something that we hadn’t before, picking up four injuries in one game (at Hillsborough),” Hughton added.
“And I’d never been involved in a team when that had happened before.
“But then coming back to the Amex after losing 2-0 at Sheffield, we probably put in a first-half performance that was arguably the best performance in my period at the club.
“So very mixed emotions but I think that disappointment allowed us to rectify that the following season and get promotion.”
Swansea visit Sussex on the back of a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions which has lifted them to 16th position, a point above the bottom three.
The Seagulls are one point better off having won one and drawn two of their previous three league fixtures.
Despite the impressive form of Albion’s weekend opponents, Hughton does not believe Carvalhal’s methods have altered a great deal since he stepped up a division two months ago.
“I think as regards what he wants from his players, it’s fairly similar,” Hughton added.
“Probably the big change is the formation. At Sheffield Wednesday, he predominantly played a form of 4-4-2, similar to ourselves.
“What he has done is identified what he has there (Swansea), the difficulties they were in and put a structure in place that has enabled them to get results, so that would be the only change.”