“I won’t resign” insists under-fire Poland boss Fernando Santos

Portuguese manage Fernado Santos is enduring a tough life as boss of the Poland national team, but is adamant he will not be forced into an early resignation.

Poland were beaten 2-0 by Albania in Tirana on Sunday, leaving them 4th in Group E of the European Championship qualifiers. With just three matches remaining and the team looking underwhelming, Poland’s chances of securing a place at Euro 2024 in Germany are at serious risk and Santos is inevitably coming under fire.

The Poles – on 6 points – are currently four points behind group leaders Albania who are on 10, while Czechia currently occupy 2nd place on 8 points but have a game in-hand on both sides. Moldova are in 3rd place on 8 points, meaning Poland need a flawless performance in their remaining three games to take one of the two automatic qualification spots.

Asked at the post-match press conference if he intends to resign from his position, Santos was emphatic. “Neither today nor tomorrow,” he replied. “Do I think I will continue? You have to ask the president about that. If he decides that he doesn't want me as a coach, he'll talk to me and we'll find a solution. There will always be a solution.

“I understand very well the dissatisfaction of the fans. I'm like that too, the players are very sad in the locker room because they wanted bring joy. But it doesn't always work like that. We wanted to win.

“We are developing. I have had ten training sessions. Ten! We are making a transition. The national team was something and it will change. The future lies with another team. We are trying to make this transition that needs to be made. We would like a winning team, of course. But to take advantage of this team’s characteristics we need to change the idea. Through this Poland will grow. That's what we're trying to do in the few training sessions we have. If we just look at the result, we won’t see anything.”

Poland may yet rely on the play-offs to book their place at the Euros, but Santos’ answers, particularly one in which he referenced Italy failing to qualify for the World Cup despite being 3rd-ranked in the world, did not go down well with some attending journalists.

“All of Europe will be at the European Championship and Poland needs to go through the play-offs, in a group with the Faroe Islands, Moldova and the Czech Republic,” posed one member of the local press.

“But what do you want? Do you want me to resign? I’m not asking,” smiled Santos.

It remains to be seen whether the Seleção's Euro 2016 winning coach will get the chance to turn things around with Biało-czerwoni.

By Sean Gillen