Jesualdo Ferreira notes a huge evolution in the striker he launched in the I Liga, in 2020/21, highlights the very strong mentality he has and recalls the advice he gave him. Tiago Morais is shining in Boavista’s jersey and has already scored two goals in the league. Jesualdo Ferreira is not surprised by the 20-year-old forward’s great start to the season.
Tiago Morais is the face of the new Boavista. The forward returned to Bessa after a year on loan at Leixões and took the opportunity to play in an attack that was left without Mangas, Gorré and Yusupha. The 20-year-old player was in the starting line-up in both I Liga games, totaling 335 minutes and scoring two goals, the last of which was decisive in the victory (2-1) in the last round and which guaranteed the leadership in the championship on the day he celebrated the birthday.
« The goal he scored against Estoril came from an uninhibited striker, who has good dribbling skills, good power for his age and an ability to play with both feet », analyzes Jesualdo Ferreira, the coach who launched the advanced in the I Liga, on December 28, 2020, against Braga. On that day, he became the youngest athlete ever to play for Boavista in the I Liga, aged 17 years and three months, surpassing João Vieira Pinto, who made his debut aged 17 years and five months.
Seeing the striker’s growth, Jesualdo Ferreira feels that this is a moment of enormous importance in the player’s career. « He reached a good level to start thinking about higher stages. Pay attention, he’s not there yet, nobody tells him he is, because it’s a lie. He can’t believe it. But he has all the conditions to get there. When he gets there when he arrives, he will discuss other topics that, at this point in his career, are not very important, such as contracts, the choices he has to make and the pressure that will be exerted on him. From a mental point of view, if he understands this and if he is always focused on training and then getting to the game and thinking about him and the team, and not just about him and other things, Tiago will reach a very high level. »
Speaking to O JOGO, the experienced coach speaks fondly of Tiago, as he preferred to call him, at a time when everyone called him Morais. At that time of 2020/21, Jesualdo was in charge of the chess team and liked what he saw in the under-23 team. « I saw two or three games and I made a point of pulling him up. At that time, in his mind, he was the biggest. The truth is that he arrived a little with that air, but when he started working with us I realized that he was more humble than who he looked like and who had a great desire to be someone in football. He was a kid who listened well, who had a lot of quality and who believed he was going to reach very high levels », recalls the 77-year-old coach, praising the striker’s attitude . « In the group he didn’t make waves, he went after what he understood would be the best for him. He never behaved outside of what is desirable for a professional. »
At that time of baptism in the I Liga, in 2020/21, Tiago Morais started by playing at home against Braga, followed by three away games, against Marítimo, Benfica and Sporting. Jesualdo Ferreira immediately wanted to see the young man’s response to tests of a high degree of difficulty. « The first perspective I had was in the sense of understanding what he was like and what he could be in games of higher intensity, with greater emotion. It was important to know if it was a player who felt smaller against the great teams in stadiums like Luz and Alvalade », explains Jesualdo, recalling the conversation he had with the athlete after those tests. « What he told me was that those environments didn’t torment him. At 17 years old, and taking into account the difficult situation in which Boavista found itself, he gave an excellent response. »
Almost three years have passed since his debut in the I Liga and Jesualdo notices an evolution in the striker. « He evolved from a technical point of view, but, above all, in understanding the game. From then on, it was easy to acquire the advice he gave him », he underlined, also revealing some indications that he gave him when they worked together. « I always told him it was important that he realized the qualities he had, because he didn’t just have to play on the outside. »
« Now is the affirmation phase, the most difficult for him »
Transferred to Leixões last season, Tiago Morais broke all senior records in terms of games played (33), goals (4) and assists (2). « He had the opportunity to play more. He was in the II League and he didn’t forget it, quite the opposite », highlights Jesualdo Ferreira, leaving a few words by way of advice. « He had a good, sustained evolution, and now it’s the affirmation phase, probably the most difficult for him. He still doesn’t have status and he has to think about training well every day, continuing to be humble and trying to improve his game » .