Carlos Carvalhal starts his Swansea stewardship determined to resurrect the career of countryman Renato Sanches.
Portugal midfielder Sanches has struggled since making his surprise season-long loan move from Bayern Munich in August, failing to score or provide an assist in 11 Swansea appearances.
Sanches has not started a game since Nov. 29, when he was ridiculed for passing a ball into an advertising hoarding at Chelsea with no Swans player in close attendance.
But Carvalhal said Sanches — who was named the best young player at Euro 2016 and cost Bayern €35 million when he joined them from Benfica after Portugal had won that tournament — will prove himself at Swansea under his management.
“I think he [Sanches] needs confidence,” Carvalhal said, ahead of his Swansea bow at Watford. “It is easy to forget because he has played for Benfica and the Portuguese national team that he is still only a kid.
“He is still learning and I think he needs a role in the team. With time he will understand all the different roles the players have in the team.
“But he will be involved in the dynamic and, when he understands what we want, he will be a completely different player. We believe that.”
Carvalhal was appointed Swansea manager on Thursday, only four days after his two-and-a-half-year spell at Championship side Sheffield Wednesday came to an end.
He has inherited a side five points from safety after only one win in 12 Premier League games, and a swift upturn in results are needed if Swansea are to be playing top-flight football for an eighth successive season next term.
But Carvalhal has promised a positive approach ahead of meeting fellow Portuguese coach Marco Silva at Vicarage Road.
“Marco is a good coach and their assistant coach [Joao Pedro Sousa] is my big friend,” Carvalhal said. “He is from my city, Braga, and we played together.
“Watford are a very organised team but we will fight for the three points. It will be the same against every opponent because I’ve never played in my career to draw any game.
“I always try to win, even when I was a coach in the third division in Portugal and we played teams from the top division.
2It was the same at Sheffield Wednesday when we beat Newcastle and Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.”
Swansea were in complete disarray when losing 5-0 at Liverpool on Boxing Day — the final game of Leon Britton’s two matches in caretaker charge following the sacking of Paul Clement — but Carvalhal has preached the need for unity.
“Organisation is important and we must not be afraid to play,” he said. “We have to enjoy it when we have the ball and be disciplined when we don’t have it.
“These are the things we must do urgently, so we can connect the 11 pieces into one and become bigger.”