Most of us would consider Portuguese wine to be the country’s best export, however, I believe it is their managers. A country that breathes and bleeds football it is only natural that they will give us some of the best players and the best managers. This article explains why Portuguese managers are better than any other nationalities.
There are approximately 200 Portuguese managers working across the globe. With the standouts being Jose Mourinho (England) Leonardo Jardim (France) and Andre Villas Boas (China). A country that has such a strong passion for football it’s only natural that its people decide to follow their dreams and try and get a job within the king of sports. In the European competitions this year there was a total of 7 managers after the group stages of both Europa League and Champions league. No other country had more managers. In Portugal itself apart from one club, all the 18 top tier teams are managed by a Portuguese boss. Across Europe, you find a Portuguese manager in most leagues. In Bundesliga 2, you have Vitor Pereira managing TSV MUNICH 1860. In Ukraine you have Paulo Fonseca in charge of FC Shaktar Donetsk. You even have an Indian team being managed by Nelo Vingada. These are only a few examples of some Portuguese managers. I cannot be here naming every single league that has a Portuguese manager but trust me there are a lot.
I am a big believer in quality over quantity but in this case they go hand in hand. Whilst there is a lot of Portuguese managers it must be because they’re doing something right. Mourinho is easily the standout manager here. Since 2002 when he joined Porto, he has won the league with every single club he has been at. So Man United fans have a good reason to believe that success is coming. Andre Villas-Boas is another of Portugal’s finest exports. He became the youngest manager to win an European trophy when he won the Europa League with Porto in 2010-2011. In that season he also finished the season unbeaten domestically as he won all three titles without any losses. At Spurs he also holds the most points record, Villas-Boas recorded a total of 72 points more than Pochettino’s 70 last season. Leonardo Jardim the manager to place to Monaco on the top of French football despite PSG’s backed Qatari wealth. Jardim knocked out Spurs and Man City out of Europe too, showing his quality as a manager in knocking out two of England’s best teams.
Growing up in Portugal for a part of my childhood, I remember being 5 years old going to the cafe and discussing whether the 4-2-3-1 or the 4-4-2 was the best to use. The natural curiosity that a Portuguese is born with as the first explorers illustrated in discovering Brazil and India. Portuguese managers are tactically very adaptable and strong. Normally with a pragmatic approach whilst also encouraging goals. They tend to believe that the unit is of ultimate importance. With English teams in 2004 still playing a 442, Mourinho realised that if he deployed a 433 he would have a spare man in midfield and that year he nullified the league with ease. Finishing 12 points ahead of second place. He had revolutionised the way football was being played in England for the following years many of the top teams decided to play between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3. In my eyes he also introduced the concept of the modern day complete striker in the form of Didier Drogba. A striker that could play up top by himself but had the ability to hold up the ball, link up play and the speed to get behind defences. A more recent case of a tactical masterpiece was Portugal in the Euro’s, especially after the poor group stages. When coming up a team in the form of Croatia whom had just beaten Spain. Fernando Santos needed to come up with something very elaborate and boy did he. Facing a midfield with Rakitic, Modric and Krychowiak he needed to come up with a plan to stop such a strong midfield. He did it by playing a 442 diamond with Joao Mario and Andre Gomes at either side of midfield. As they are centre midfielders by trait they closed the space inside very well and nullified Croatia so much that they did not register a single shot on target. Even against France, Portugal were not exploited as much as one would have thought at the start of the game.
A country that has 2.3 million people living abroad alone suggests adaptability. That trait is definitely with the Portuguese managers. As they cover majority of the globe whether it is the cold of the United Kingdom or the hot weather of Middle East to the politically insecure Ukraine. Portuguese managers like a challenge and adapt to circumstances well. There is no such thing as being ‘home-sick’. They love football so much and learning from experiences that it drives them to step down in career. Hull could be seen as a step down for Marco Silva, despite unemployed after asking to leave Olympiakos. He won the league with them by February, a record. Had he waited until the summer he might have been able to land a job in a better and more stable team than Hull. This is just one example of many.
All in all, Portuguese managers are tactically astute, strong in the press conference and are able to bring success to the teams they coach.Whilst obviously not every single Portuguese manager will reach the heights of Mourinho, the special one. They will have success in their careers.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!