The coach of Portuguese soccer champion FC Porto, Sérgio Conceição, has “the profile to lead a team to get results”, said today the ‘mental coach’ Susana Torres, speaking on the sidelines of the Thinking Football summit in Porto.
“It’s very important to find people with the profile to take a team to get results. If there is someone with that profile it is Sérgio Conceição. As he has said several times, it is like driving a Ferrari, but not putting quality gasoline or doing the maintenance. I believe Sérgio Conceição is a Ferrari that needed some small details when he came to us. What we do is make life easier for players, coaches and clubs,” the high performance coach, who has been working in the field since 2012, told reporters.
Invited to debate about mental health in high performance athletes, in a panel that also included the former Brazilian international midfielder Gilberto Silva and the businesswoman Kaite Bernardo, Susana Torres supported her intervention with a “very challenging coach” and “a spectacular person and very difficult to deal with, given his demands”.
“I don’t work with Sérgio Conceição at FC Porto, although I have been working with him since 2014. I met him personally and we started doing this work. If you think about it, we are not prepared for a number of things, namely dealing with everyone. There are people we deal with better and others not so well. The coach has 26 players and he will have challenges with some of them who are talented and whose investment was extremely high. You have to know how to deal with that and nobody teaches you how to deal with it,” she shared.
Confronted with the emotional control of Sérgio Conceição, who adds 21 expulsions in national competitions, 11 of which as coach of FC Porto, which he commands since 2017/18, Susana Torres argued that his contribution “takes away rather than putting everyone in the norm”.
“One thing is what we think the coach should be, another is what he wants to be. In the case of Sérgio Conceição, he is a person with a very different profile, specific and that fulfills his behavior according to the image he wants to have and the way he wants to be in soccer. I think Sérgio Conceição is right, in the sense that, even if we don’t agree, it’s about the way he wants to live and has always lived soccer and that is characteristic to him. We have to respect a person’s individuality”, she said.
Susana Torres works with top footballers from the major European leagues and became famous for the help given to the Portuguese international striker Eder, author of the solitary goal against France in the final of Euro2016 (1-0), held on the outskirts of Paris.
“We see in major competitions, finals and championships that what makes the difference is the emotional state of the athlete. Over time, a lot has been trained in the tactical, technical and physical component, but we seem to have forgotten the one thing that commands this to achieve the best performance, which is the brain. Champions also lose because of mental issues. We will see teams coming out of the World Cup2022 on details, that is, how they deal with everything that involves a competition of this nature,” he concluded.
The Thinking Football summit takes place between Friday and Sunday, at the Pavilhão Rosa Mota, in Porto, under the unprecedented organization of the Portuguese Professional Football League (LPFP).