Sérgio Conceição was this afternoon presented as the new coach of FC Porto. The former Portugal winger signed a two-year contract after extricating himself from a contract renewal he had signed at Nantes just weeks ago.
He replaces Nuno Espírito Santo, who left at the end of the season after failing to end the club’s 4-year trophy drought.
“It’s with enormous joy and love for the club that I’ve come here,” said Conceição. “I’m sure in May I’ll be happy, and Porto supporters too.”
A brilliant but volatile winger who first made his name as a player at Porto, Conceição has taken his passionate approach to the game into his coaching career, with dismissals from the touchline by referees a common feature of his no-holds-barred managerial style to date.
However, his results suggest there is substance to go with his fervour and the 42-year-old insisted as much during his unveiling. “It’s impossible to be a winner (as a coach) just by shouting. Determination is important but you have to be intelligent, and players have to take in your message.”
Promissing career to date
His record indicates he is adept at getting that message across. In a relatively short coaching career so far, Conceição has enjoyed success at all his clubs: Olhanense, Académica, Braga, Vitória Guimarães and Nantes, leaving each one in a stronger position than he found them. His work at Ligue 1 club Nantes this season was nothing short of sensational, in six months taking the team from penultimate place in the table to a 7th-place finish.
Conceição will be under pressure to deliver quickly given Porto have gone four years without a trophy, but he is not in the least daunted. “Here the goal is simple: win every game and every competition,” said Conceição.
“I can promise the fans we will put in the utmost hard work and determination to achieve the main objective, which is to win the championship.” What are the odds on Conceição taking Porto back to the top of the tree in Portugal? The bookies are all over the place at this point, however if you fancy a flutter check out Bookmaker Advisor beforehand to compare the markets.
Meanwhile, Porto president Pinto da Costa brushed off suggestions that Conceição was second choice after missing out on Marco Silva. The president claimed he initially believed Conceição was unavailable having just signed a new contract with Nantes, but circumstances changed when it transpired the former Lazio player was keen on returning to Portugal owing to his wife’s poor health.
Pinto da Costa did not hold back in his praise for his new coach: “I know his human and professional qualities, and his love for the club, which was important. But what was fundamental was the competence he has shown as a coach. It was more difficult to do what Sérgio did at Nantes than to do what Zidane did at Real.”
by Tom Kundert