Paulo Fonseca believes that the Porto coach has performed miracles from season to season and will also know how to overcome the loss of Otávio. Augura fights four-way to win the championship
Analysis of António Salvador’s Braga and Sérgio Conceição’s FC Porto, not forgetting ‘their’ Paços and Estrela da Amadora.
How do you foresee the reduction of forces in Portugal?
-For me it is clear that there is great work by Roger Schmidt, Sérgio, Rúben and Artur Jorge. The clubs, calmly, have improved their squads. I can say that Benfica and Sporting are stronger, I don’t know FC Porto’s reinforcements that well but any Sérgio team will always be a firm candidate. Braga will continue in this fight.
Speaking of FC Porto, do you think the sale of Otávio will be very difficult to meet, or will Sérgio Conceição turn things around?
-Throughout these years of Sérgio’s leadership, important players have always left. What he has done is a true sporting miracle. FC Porto has not invested like Benfica and always manages to be in the discussion, winning championships. He has recruited from smaller teams. The credit goes to Sérgio.
He trained in Italy, do you think Sérgio lacks that achievement in another League?
-I can’t speak for Sérgio but I see that he has the capacity to coach in any championship. I tell a lot of people that he was excellent to coach in Italy, due to his game and characteristics. Also because of the way of leading. Having played for Calcio I think it influenced him. I suggest him training the best in Italy, I don’t know when, as he is happy at FC Porto.
And how do you look at the current Braga in the Champions League?
-It was fantastic to see Braga achieve this, I lived the moment with great satisfaction. Now you have reduced obligations. They will face Napoli but it is no longer Spalletti’s Napoli. I know Braga’s ambition and they will not hand games to anyone on a plate. They will fight hard against stronger and favorite opponents, fear or trepidation does not live in Braga. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain and all of this is a reward for its athletes.
Does the president’s investment surprise you?
-What is happening is perfectly normal, the president has never hidden his ambition to see Braga champion, he is taking safe steps in that direction. Hiring experienced players brings you closer to that goal. It has made the team more competitive but Braga has also launched young players from the academy. There is an interesting mix.
Can you share the emotions of seeing Estrela rise and Paços fall?
-I was very happy with Estrela’s return to the League, which is very important for the club’s survival. The city deserved it too. Paços’ relegation was a disappointment, but they will return quickly.
Can 3rd place in Paços still be considered his greatest achievement, above titles?
-It was like being a champion. It’s a difficult mark to reach, it marked me and gave me pleasure. It’s impossible to forget that era, despite some titles. It will stay with me very strongly, it was a fantastic and very humble group.
Are you satisfied with the new command of the Seleção?
-He’s a coach I’ve always admired, extremely competent. Quality cannot be achieved from one moment to the next when working in a national team. The balance is excellent, there are only victories and first place in the group. Many say it is an accessible group but how many times have Portugal lost points against these teams, against which it is, in fact, more difficult to motivate the players.