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Carlos Carvalhal: ‘Before this, I hardly even knew I had flowers in my garden’

Rio Ave manager on how Covid-19 will change everything, players having ‘to take risks’ in Portugal and craving a return to England

The sun is shining in Braga and, to prove the point, Carlos Carvalhal angles his computer’s camera to present the view outside. “Before this situation, I hardly even knew I had flowers in my garden,” he says. “When it is over, I believe I will look at my flowers all the time. I’m talking symbolically. We can look to the little things, not just to the big things.”

Carvalhal has always been good for a metaphor and, given the caution that has governed his every step over the past two months, this one holds especially true. His children are both diabetic so, when Portugal’s Covid-19 lockdown began, he took no chances. First he rented a friend’s flat, visiting his family at lunchtimes and dining with them at a safe distance outdoors, using disposable cutlery. Now he has moved back in, but with restrictions: avoiding common areas and, as he puts it, “living together but separately”.

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