Portugal under-20 international forward Xande Silva says he is being patient in waiting for his opportunity to shine at West Ham United, following his summer move from Vitória de Guimarães.
Meanwhile, Vítor Pereira has spoken of his pride at winning the Chinese CSL with Shanghai SPIG, but the former Porto boss is already being linked with a move to the Middle East, while big matches await Portuguese managers José Mourinho, Pedro Martins and Marco Silva this weekend.
For 21-year-old Xande Silva, the early stages of this season have been about settling into new surroundings with Premier League club West Ham. The Porto-born youngster, who spent time at Sporting’s academy, signed a three-year contract with the Hammers in August.
Xande arrived with a strong reputation at youth level, having been named in the Team of the Tournament at the European under-17 Championships in 2014. That promise was only enhanced when he scored a four-minute hat-trick on his debut for West Ham’s under-23 team shortly after joining the London club.
"This is a great experience"
Although yet to make an appearance for the first team, Xande has said he is taking his time to adjust. “Here I am in a new culture, different, both socially and in football," he said. "It’s much faster. 'How can you play so calm?’ Some of my teammates ask me.
“This is a great experience, here there are all the conditions for a Portuguese player to play, you just have to stay focused.”
It has been reported that West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini opted against sending Silva out on loan, with strong interest from teams across England in taking the player on loan turned down by the club, as the Chilean coach wants to keep a close eye on the forward. “He is a good manager, with great experience, which he has acquired in the great clubs where he’s been,” Silva said.
“My time will come.”
Jesus vs Pereira in Saudi Arabia?
Vítor Pereira has been speaking about his Chinese title win with Shanghai SPIG, which saw the Portuguese coach end the dominance of perennial champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the CSL, which had lasted for seven consecutive seasons. Pereira’s men hold an eight-point lead at the top of the table with just one match of the season left.
“We broke the seven years monopoly of Evergrande,” Pereira said. “This was an amazing challenge. I am very happy to have come to China and be able to do this in the first year. It should be said that this is the first title for most of the players. This achievement has carved everyone’s names into the history of Chinese football and engraved them into the history of this club.”
Pereira, who issued a long list of people he wished to thank after the achievement, says his team showed the appropriate mentality of champions. “We have won this championship with very hard work. It is championship temperament that we have. We have been through a lot. The amount of time we have led the table shows we are consistent and mature. We deserve this championship.”
Whether Pereira stays in China remains to be seen, with reports in the Middle East suggesting that despite his declarations that he will continue with Shanghai, Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr are preparing an offer to bring him back to the Pro League, where he previously coached Al-Ahli during the 2012-13 season.
One key aspect of the speculation, according to reports in Arab press outlets, is the presence at Al-Nassr of former Benfica man Hélder Cristóvão, who works at the club and supports the pursuit of his compatriot. Al-Nassr also have a number of other Portuguese staff, while there are question marks over the future of current coach Jose Carreno.
Reports suggest Pereira does not discount the possibility of a return to the country, where he would be charged with competing with Al-Hilal, currently coached by Jorge Jesus. The former Benfica man is believed to have been approached over extending his contract with Al-Hilal with a lucrative three-year deal to fend off any suggestions of a return to Lisbon.
Next big test for Mou's United
José Mourinho has been in the headlines over recent days following Manchester United’s win over Juventus, and the big games keep coming for the Red Devils. United head to the Etihad Stadium to play local rivals Manchester City on Sunday, with Mourinho insisting that recent performances in big games give his side a chance of another good result.
“We are going to try. I cannot say that we are going to be successful in our desire,” said Mourinho. “But we played two difficult matches away against two very good teams in Chelsea and Juventus and we managed to get good results. Even if the good results were not in our pocket, the performances were there, and the positive attitude was there. But it’s right to say Manchester City are a powerful team.”
When asked why his side are able to consistently rescue results by scoring late, the ex-Porto boss was keen to emphasise the other side of the story. “We can go to the other side: Why do we always concede before the opponent? If you want to be positive you can say that we are a team that does not give up and has a collective spirit to fight back. But it’s not always possible, so if we keep conceding goals before the opponent the day will arrive that we cannot come back.”
Martins' Olympiakos "have confidence" ahead of derby
One of the many other significant derbies this weekend comes in Greece, where Pedro Martins’ Olympiakos host rivals Panathinaikos in the Super League at Karaiskakis Stadium on Sunday evening. For Portuguese coach Martins, the derby represents a chance to secure a sixth consecutive win for his side, who are currently in 3rd place and looking to reduce the 4-point gap between themselves and leaders PAOK.
“We want to win on Sunday, because, apart from being a derby, there will be three important points in dispute,” the former Vitória Guimarães coach said. “We need the victory and the result. We know that the fans will be on our side and we, on our part, will retribute their support. We’ll try to get the result and concentrate on this match.
“In terms of self-confidence, of course [recent results] help us. As for the motivation, we already had it in our minds. We must be careful about the match against Panathinaikos. On Sunday we will face a completely different opponent, it will have another kind of difficulty. We got a result that gives us confidence regarding the derby. We are going to play a difficult match against an organized opponent and we must be cautious.”
We must be ourselves at Chelsea - Silva
Finally, Marco Silva takes his Everton side to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Sunday, and the Toffees manager says he has belief in his side’s ability to impose themselves on the occasion and dismissed any concerns about their unconvincing away record in the Premier League so far this season.
"I have confidence in our work, confidence in the way we are playing, seeing how our team is growing, playing better and getting better results," said Silva. "Of course it will be tough. I accept Chelsea will be favourites. It will be a big challenge for us but what I hope and what I expect is that we are ourselves on the pitch.
"They will create problems for us, but I want to see our team be ourselves, play in our way. In some moments they will create, but when we have the ball we have to be ourselves.
"I can analyse the first five [away] games we played. The first two we played almost 90 minutes with 10 men, we didn’t lose and almost won both. We had a very good win against Leicester. When we played at the Emirates and Old Trafford, we performed well but did not achieve what we wanted. We were competitive in all of them, we compete to win in all of them, even against this type of team and I am sure we will improve this form. I don’t have doubts."
By Sean Gillen