Spaniard presented as new Portugal coach

Roberto Martínez was today officially presented as Portugal’s new head coach at the FPF headquarters at Cidade do Futebol in Oeiras, signing a contract until 2026.

The 49-year-old Spaniard becomes the third foreign coach to manage the Seleção after Brazilians Otto Glória and Luiz Felipe Scolari, both of whom led Portugal to World Cup semi-finals, their most successful finishes in the tournament. 

Portuguese Football Federation head Fernando Gomes is confident the right choice has been made. “From the first time we talked to Roberto Martínez it was clear he fitted the profile we were looking for,” said Gomes.

“Obviously we spoke to a lot of people, but the only coach who we made a concrete offer to was Roberto Martínez. We believe Portugal should always be at the decisive moments in tournaments, at least reaching the semi-finals. We will do everything to make sure his time as Portugal coach is a long and happy one.” 

The floor was then left open for Martínez to field questions from the assembled journalists. Below is a translation of the answers showing the main ideas of the new Seleção head coach. 

Excitement

“I’m going to try and learn Portuguese as quickly as possible. I’m very excited to be in one of the most talented nations in the world. When I received the invitation it was a project that really motivated me.” 

Systems / formations

“I don’t believe in systems. I believe in players, in human beings and in talent. You need to be tactically flexible to get the most out of every player, rather than the players adapting to the system.

“Portugal must always aim to win and to do that you need to be a modern team, with tactical flexibility. Playing with a 3-man or 4-man defence depends on the players available, and the job for me and my coaching staff will be to get the maximum out of every player.” 

Ronaldo / selection options

“Football decisions have to be made based on what happens on the pitch, not in an office. I will contact all the 26 players who were in Portugal’s World Cup squad as my starting point, and Ronaldo is on that list. He has played for the Seleção for 19 years and deserves the respect to sit down and talk.

“We have 10 weeks to create the best team for the first game. Tomorrow we start working on that.

“There are 54 Portuguese players playing in Europe’s top leagues who are 28 years old or under, and Benfica and FC Porto are in the Champions League. I will respect all these players, many of whom I have faced as an opponent and I am delighted to now have them on my side.”

Portuguese member in the coaching staff

“The makeup of the coaching team is clear. After seven years as an international manager I know what is needed. We will finalise it in the coming days.

“But I want to have a Portuguese assistant, a former Seleção player who has had an international career. I think it will be very important to accelerate our understanding of Portuguese football.”

Portugal European champions?

“Of course, it’s important to dream big, but we have to take it one step at a time. To be European Champions you first have to qualify. To be World Champions you first have to qualify. From then onwards, you have to dream.”

By Tom Kundert

 

Comments (40)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I can see all of the Santos, Ronaldo, and Pepe luddites on here going into to total melt down. The world is coming to an end...we won't qualify...we won't make it out of the group stage if we do...we won't score any goals...we won't be able to...

I can see all of the Santos, Ronaldo, and Pepe luddites on here going into to total melt down. The world is coming to an end...we won't qualify...we won't make it out of the group stage if we do...we won't score any goals...we won't be able to defend...we won't blah, blah,blah,blah, blah....

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Lusi4Ever
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Crazy to me how many exist. Ronaldo + Pepe were not going to play forever...and we did our fanhood a favor by dumping Santos. I will always love him and respect him for what he did, but after 2019, it was literally like he was just coasting and...

Crazy to me how many exist. Ronaldo + Pepe were not going to play forever...and we did our fanhood a favor by dumping Santos. I will always love him and respect him for what he did, but after 2019, it was literally like he was just coasting and the team was, too...no ingenuity, nothing new or exciting, nada.

I didn't like this pick, but at this point in time, this is what we need....a FRESH start, period.

I hope the first thing this guy does is tell Ronaldo that the record chasing is over, the 90 minute games are over and there are games you may not even be called up for. I think Ronnie is good for 30 minute cameos and that's if the team we are playing, the game plan Martinez instills and the team we call up makes sense for him to play.

If he complains and moans, we cut him loose.

That should be the first order of business, before ANYTHING else.

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Martim/Lisboa
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I totally agree. Not an exciting pick but has expirence and a third place finish in the WC is not to sneeze at. To be honest I prefer him over Mourinho, as I think Mourinho would be more of the same. As for Ronnie, thanks but no thanks. Im of...

I totally agree. Not an exciting pick but has expirence and a third place finish in the WC is not to sneeze at. To be honest I prefer him over Mourinho, as I think Mourinho would be more of the same. As for Ronnie, thanks but no thanks. Im of the belief he has hindered us more than helped us in the last few years. I even read a report that the players were unhappy with the fact he has his personal trainer taggin along. if you think about it, its true, why does this guy get to sit on the bench??

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Luis Ribeiro
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Mourinho is vintage, Portuguese fans need to realize he's pretty much the same as Santos...pragmatic and more defensive than offensive. With teams like France and Argentina, you see great defense, but also great OFFENSE...with Mourinho, not sure...

Mourinho is vintage, Portuguese fans need to realize he's pretty much the same as Santos...pragmatic and more defensive than offensive. With teams like France and Argentina, you see great defense, but also great OFFENSE...with Mourinho, not sure you get that in spades.

I like this because Martinez can finally show fans if we can actually play with 3 at the back.

And also, bring up youngsters and call up people, like Leao and Renato, than Santos didn't like calling up (no idea why.)

Finally, regarding Ronaldo:

Whatever reports are true or not true, Ronaldo is Portugal's greatest ever player. That being said, Father Time spares no one...if he accepts the role I put forward, I am OK with him being on the squad - more for experience and a super sub.

If he pouts and exhibits a lack of leadership and dependability, Martinez should just not call him up.

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Martim/Lisboa
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Obviously he's Portugals best player, he's top 4 of all time. Still let's move on shall we. What more can he really offer? Another 6 months, 1 year? Why take up a spot for a young talent.

As for the 3 CB, I think we missed the boat, seems like...

Obviously he's Portugals best player, he's top 4 of all time. Still let's move on shall we. What more can he really offer? Another 6 months, 1 year? Why take up a spot for a young talent.

As for the 3 CB, I think we missed the boat, seems like its already going out of style. Noticing that more and more Premier and Serie A teams moving back to 4 at the back. I think this was a good strategy the past 4 to 5 years but going forward not so sure.

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Luis Ribeiro
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Welcome and best of luck.

Clearly an unpopular appointment in the eyes of a lot of the fans, but now it's been agreed we should see what he can bring to the team before we write him off completely. He's still relatively young for an...

Welcome and best of luck.

Clearly an unpopular appointment in the eyes of a lot of the fans, but now it's been agreed we should see what he can bring to the team before we write him off completely. He's still relatively young for an international manager and may have learnt a lot from the Belgium experience which could hold him good stead for his role as Portugal manager.

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Santos
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Well I expect most of the armchair Einstein's that comment here to throw shade at the guy.
Cos you know, Fernando Santos - Paulo Bento - Carlos Queiroz were top tier, world cup wining coaches weren't they?

Martinez might've flopped this time...

Well I expect most of the armchair Einstein's that comment here to throw shade at the guy.
Cos you know, Fernando Santos - Paulo Bento - Carlos Queiroz were top tier, world cup wining coaches weren't they?

Martinez might've flopped this time around with Belgium but the attitude of the players also wasn't ideal. It was never going to be Zidane, Mourinho or someone of that level, so don't expect it.

Portugal's supply of talent won't be running short within the next 5-10 years and if Martinez can get a tune out of our squad then the sky's the limit.

Optimism isn't a strong word with the Portuguese but lets be positive here.

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Miggy
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Obviously getting knocked out in the groups in Qatar isn't a good result but we shouldn't forget the teams that finished ahead of them, Croatia and Morocco, both got to the semi finals.

The dwindling numbers of the golden generation and the...

Obviously getting knocked out in the groups in Qatar isn't a good result but we shouldn't forget the teams that finished ahead of them, Croatia and Morocco, both got to the semi finals.

The dwindling numbers of the golden generation and the decline in quality of those who remained meant Qatar was probably always going to be a tough task for Belgium and yet had Lukaku converted a tap in the closing minutes against Croatia they would have made it through.

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Santos
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Rumor has it that he plans on adding Figo to the coaching staff.

dave c
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This would be amazing!

Eddie
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that would def help make me more of a fan lol. Hope they keep Henry on the staff, too.

Martim/Lisboa
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I would love it if Henry came too. Brian/RI/US mentioned it in the last article too that Henry would be great to mentor Rafael Leao and I totally agree with that.

Leao will succeed fine even if Henry isn't there as Zlatan has mentored him in...

I would love it if Henry came too. Brian/RI/US mentioned it in the last article too that Henry would be great to mentor Rafael Leao and I totally agree with that.

Leao will succeed fine even if Henry isn't there as Zlatan has mentored him in Milan, but it would be awesome too if Henry can be in the national team to guide him too.

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Eddie
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I hope so, but as I think about this more, I believe Figo will be the Henry to Portugal; probably won't have both guys on the team as that "former player guy" role.

We can dream though!

Martim/Lisboa
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Yeah true man we would be almost asking too much for both haha. Figo is Portuguese and he's a world legend and won a Ballon d'Or which is better than Henry. So if we have to choose just one Figo would be the man for sure! And Figo himself can...

Yeah true man we would be almost asking too much for both haha. Figo is Portuguese and he's a world legend and won a Ballon d'Or which is better than Henry. So if we have to choose just one Figo would be the man for sure! And Figo himself can help Leao a lot if we continue to utilize him as a left wing forward.

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Eddie
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I am sure Figo would trade that BDR for the Euro and World Cup that Henry has - just saying. But I agree, I don't think both join the staff, but who knows. Would be amazing, regardless!

And I think either one of those guys coaching up Leao, who...

I am sure Figo would trade that BDR for the Euro and World Cup that Henry has - just saying. But I agree, I don't think both join the staff, but who knows. Would be amazing, regardless!

And I think either one of those guys coaching up Leao, who can be a bit "lackadaisical," at times, would do wonders.

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Martim/Lisboa
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Well the experts at FPF out did themselves. Let's hire a coach who had Belgium's Golden generation and won nothing. Please put Figo in charge of the FPF and fire everyone else.

Rodrigues Antonio
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Belgium have never won anything ever, so I hardly think you can consider finishing 3rd at the World Cup in 2018 some kind of catastrophic failure. Considering the squad was aging even then, the fact Euro 2020 was delayed a year did them no...

Belgium have never won anything ever, so I hardly think you can consider finishing 3rd at the World Cup in 2018 some kind of catastrophic failure. Considering the squad was aging even then, the fact Euro 2020 was delayed a year did them no favours and they still qualified easily, won all their group games easily, beat Portugal and lost to the eventual champions in the quarter finals. Even the best generations and managers will run out of steam eventually so I don't think the group stage exit in 2022 means that he couldn't do a 2018-esque campaign with a Portugal team arguably reaching maturation.

If I were to point any major criticisms at Martinez for his tenure as Belgium manager it would be they didn't seem to go all out to win the Nations League to at least bring home one trophy (If I recall correctly, De Bruyne was quite dismissive of the tournament), but let's not pretend a NL title would have the same impact as the other 2 tournaments.

Again, I can fully understand he wasn't anyone's first choice, certainly not mine, but cannot begin to understand why everyone thinks this is such an obvious disaster without even seeing him play one game first.

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Santos
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I like the statement of tactical flexibility, I think he's shown that a bit throughout his career. The 5th place finish with Everton was great. He mixes the traditional Barcelona possession soccer with nuances that he's learned along the...

I like the statement of tactical flexibility, I think he's shown that a bit throughout his career. The 5th place finish with Everton was great. He mixes the traditional Barcelona possession soccer with nuances that he's learned along the way. I think that the FPF tried to get someone "better" but this is the best that they could get. He's on par with Van gaal in my opinion but maybe a better fit as I think that he's hungry and has something to prove. A shorter contract would have been better but it probably wasn't realistic. I heard names like Tite and Conceicao thrown around on this site and they just don't have the temperament for this job , which by my opinion is not an easy job.

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Gee Dee
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He has said all the right things hasn't he? He will learn Portuguese, he will make sure to have a key person who understands Portuguese football on his team, he believes in tactical flexibility, he will reach out to all members of the WC squad...

He has said all the right things hasn't he? He will learn Portuguese, he will make sure to have a key person who understands Portuguese football on his team, he believes in tactical flexibility, he will reach out to all members of the WC squad etc. Not to mention that he is clearly enthusiastic about this project.

This quote is telling to me...
“From the first time we talked to Roberto Martínez it was clear he fitted the profile we were looking for”

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Nelson
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Tactical flexibility, for me, is key....

Enthusiasm is also key...alot of these guys have no idea what they are getting themselves into when they take a job like Portugal's. Talent to boot, enough to win any tournament, but missing, as Gomes...

Tactical flexibility, for me, is key....

Enthusiasm is also key...alot of these guys have no idea what they are getting themselves into when they take a job like Portugal's. Talent to boot, enough to win any tournament, but missing, as Gomes put in the conference today, "the small, minor details" that decide close games.

Portugal are Kings of losing nail biters or frankly, games that we have no business losing...heartbrakers. Let's hope this guy can finally help us take that next step.

I agree with Gomes, too - there is NO reason why Portugal should not be making the semi's of the Euro every two years. World Cup, ehh...that's tougher.

I think Figo will be that "key person who understands Portuguese football."

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Martim/Lisboa
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What did you make about his comments on Ronaldo? I think that will be a key early question for him. Does Ronaldo stay in the team, remain as captain? I hope not personally. While I think he could probably still be a super sub, I can't imagine...

What did you make about his comments on Ronaldo? I think that will be a key early question for him. Does Ronaldo stay in the team, remain as captain? I hope not personally. While I think he could probably still be a super sub, I can't imagine it's a role he will accept readily and it will just cause problems.

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Santos
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I really like his comment about speaking to all the players on the roster including CR7. Yes he made a point of saying he will speak to CR7, but also the other 25 players. Whatever he ultimately does, I trust it will be for the best of the team...

I really like his comment about speaking to all the players on the roster including CR7. Yes he made a point of saying he will speak to CR7, but also the other 25 players. Whatever he ultimately does, I trust it will be for the best of the team because he'll be soliciting everyone's thoughts. I think most fans can agree that CR7's rightful role should be dictated more by the impact on the rest of the team in 2023 than CR7s history. I imagine Martinez having a candid discussion with him and laying out the conditions / rules of engagement and it will be up to CR7 to decide. I also imagine that ETH had a similar approach with CR7 but we all know how that went. Hopefully our GOAT has gained some self-awareness / humility over the past few weeks... but I'm not sure.

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Nelson
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Very very excited to see Roberto Martinez. FPF always preferred a Portuguese coach but now looking at the type of players we have, it's better to expand the recruitment to foreign nationals to find a perfect suit. From what I have seen, none of...

Very very excited to see Roberto Martinez. FPF always preferred a Portuguese coach but now looking at the type of players we have, it's better to expand the recruitment to foreign nationals to find a perfect suit. From what I have seen, none of the our Portuguese coaches convinced me enough, but a very talented, modern coach like Roberto Martinez may able to see what Portugal lack. Portugal competed in Qatar WC with their talent alone. Players were still struggling in various aspects of the game because of poor implementation of tactics of Fernando Santos. It was evident after the Serbia defeat. A desperate Fernando Santos changed things, but it was too late too imperfect. The new look Portugal team didn't have enough time to prepare for the WC and certain players like Diogo Costa were having trouble in the dynamics of the game. Portugal deserves a modern coach and contrary to the popular opinion, Roberto Martinez is the perfect suit for the Seleção. He has over achieved with the Belgium who don't yet have a big team mentality. That third place finish in the WC 18 is a great achievement. Another thing I forgot was, Martinez might have seen the weakness of the Portugal team when they faced his Belgium team. Joachim Low also seen that and beat Portugal ruthlessly with his watered down side. Portugal deserves a modern coach, looking at this talented generation of players. I don't know why people are hostile at the appointment of a this coach just because he didn't win a trophy with Belgium. Do you seriously think Belgium can win a trophy this century? They have had a golden generation, yes. Not to forget the golden generation that we had, we achieved nothing but getting sucker punched by the likes of France, Germany, Spain etc. Fernando Santos has done a lot of good work keeping aside his weaknesses. He changed the mentality of the team and instilled a belief that we can dream of winning international titles too. Now his cycle is over, we are stepping into a new direction. Very happy to hear that Martinez will appoint a Portuguese assistant coach who should be a former national team player. Very very excited about that.

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Nishanth Dsouza
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I wasn't too happy at first with his choice. But after calming down and thinking over it again, and actually listening to his words that he spoke here, I have a good feeling about it now.

I like especially how he said we will have to have...

I wasn't too happy at first with his choice. But after calming down and thinking over it again, and actually listening to his words that he spoke here, I have a good feeling about it now.

I like especially how he said we will have to have tactical flexibility to get the most out of every player and not just a player adapting to fit a set system. Which is like square pegs in round holes. I like this very much that he said he values talent and players more than just a system. Santos was really slow in adapting his formations and he did eventually in the end, but it took too long. We have an abundance of talent literally in every part of the field and so I believe we should utilize them with the best formation from situation to situation.

Managing the so called superstars of Belgium would have also been a good learning experience for him provided he actually learned from that. And takes those improvements to not make the same mistakes with us. At first I was thinking he's' not a winner like many of us have said, but he has won with underdog teams in the past and he supposedly is known as creating and playing attacking creative football. I'm not one who favors "attacking football" over "defensive football". I personally like both, and see the need for both at different times of the game. But it would be fun and entertaining to see our wealth of talent unleashed truly throughout all our games with Martinez' mindset.

Perhaps we can shift into a team of winning by sheer outscoring opponents winning 4-2 and 5-3 etc, rather than a team that prefers to be solid and grind out 1-0 wins. As all of us know we do have a ton of attacking talent, so I'm a little excited to see what we can do with this new philosophy. I really want to see Rafael Leao fully utilized. That was one thing I really didn't like about Santos he totally under utlized Leao, I don't think he recognized the game changing talent he had there. I really wanna see Leao be a mainstay starter game in game out for us!

Some have said they would like to see a change to a back three playing the 3-4-3. I'm not tied to any one formation but what I do want to see is us utilize the midfielders Renato Sanches, Matheus Nunes, and Palhinha a lot more! Those three are the best guys to level up our game. And they would suit this formation as with that the two central midfielders have to be dynamic and physical as well, qualities those three have in abundance. Guys like Bruno wouldn't fit in that midfield two. Bernardo Silva can as well as he's still hard working and energetic.

If we play 3-4-1-2 then Bruno can sit in the hole as the playmaker behind the two strikers. This in itself is an example of that same tactical flexibility Martinez talks about, I would be happy to see it too.

Up top we have an abundance of talent too, and I'm happy with whoever plays, I just want Leao to be a mainstay haha. It would be great if Pedro Neto can get back to his best too, also we can bring in Joao Pedro "Jota" from Celtic, he's an incredible winger I believe we've overlooked too long, he would be a dynamite talent for us on the wing forward spots if we play 3 up top.

And contrary to what some of us fans think, that we don't have other center back options, I disagree and I believe we do have great talent there, just Santos took too long to integrate them properly. Goncalo Inacio from Sporting needs to become a regular call up and utilized too, alongside the breakthrough Antonio Silva. And another great young center back option we have is Tiago Djalo from Lille. Djalo is a complete modern center back, very fast, great ball control, good height and physical strength as well, good tackling and heading, good with the ball at his feet. He's the real deal! He's right footed and Inacio is left footed. Those are two great options for playing right center back, and left center back respectively if we play with a back three. If we play with a back two still they're great options both of them have height Djalo is 6'3" and Inacio is 6'1". What we do really need is Ruben Dias to get his psychology right for Portugal and step up and be dominant as a leader in the back there. We always had good leaders in the back Pepe, Fonte, Ricardo Carvalho, etc. Dias needs to become a dominant leader like that as well. I personally haven't followed him his whole career as I'm a Sporting fan, so I don't know if his personality is just more quiet and not outspoken and dominant like if he's not a leader. But he seemed to be a leader in Man City his first two seasons. This season he seems to have been a lil lost mentally. But we need him to get back to his best and be a leader in the back!

Martinez has been great in his qualification games and games building up to tournaments which is what got Belgium the most points to be ranked #1. Belgium players are just not winners they choked up time and time again. But Martinez did have them playing well and getting maximum points leading into a tournament. This is the opposite of what Portugal does, we're usually struggling in qualification, and then in tournaments with our winning mentality we win big games and get through. Maybe though with Martinez he can bring a marriage of the two together, so we can actually be great in qualification and we can be confident of our gameplay and the players can have great chemistry before getting to the tournaments and then from there, we can use our big game winning mentality to blend together and create and incredible winning dominant team! This is all hopes from me of course we have to see the proof in the pudding. But after thinking about it I can see this possibly working out like that in the best case scenario. Rooting for our team to carry on and establish Portugal's legacy even more! Força Portugal!

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Eddie
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Great post!

Regarding Dias, I was critical of him in the Morocco game, but he may have been injured. Why would he play with an injury? Well do you put in Silva in such a big game? Danilo was injured, so I guess they rolled the dice.

One thing I...

Great post!

Regarding Dias, I was critical of him in the Morocco game, but he may have been injured. Why would he play with an injury? Well do you put in Silva in such a big game? Danilo was injured, so I guess they rolled the dice.

One thing I don't doubt with Dias, is his mentality. In fact, I think that is the main thing he brought to Man City and it rubbed off on an out of confidence John Stones. Dias could be getting soft at Man City, but I remember him coming up and he was a tough leader.

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Paulo
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I agree with you man, that's the impression I got from Dias when he came in to City. He brought stability and confidence to that defense, he was literally the rock of the City defense that rescued their title campaign. I agree and this helped...

I agree with you man, that's the impression I got from Dias when he came in to City. He brought stability and confidence to that defense, he was literally the rock of the City defense that rescued their title campaign. I agree and this helped boost back up John Stones.

Its so odd to see him this season out of it, but it must be an injury like you're saying. I see he hasn't been starting for City since after the World Cup too so that could really be it, that he wasn't fully fit to begin with and played through stuff and now he's really having to recover. I hope he recovers to his full fitness and level soon we need him.

And thats awesome to know he was naturally a tough leader coming up in Benfica. Maybe its just a little complacency then as he's been a back to back premier league winner, and was getting lauded as the best center back in the world, maybe he thought he's "arrived" and relaxed. But its good to know he has the leader mentality naturally, hopefully he just gets back fully fit and we can see him at his best for Portugal soon.

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Eddie
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Another great point you make is he may have learned a lot coaching Belgium.

Just like Santos learned the Greek style and brought it successfully to us for the 2016 Euro. Maybe Martinez would have learned something from his time in Belgium.

Des...

Another great point you make is he may have learned a lot coaching Belgium.

Just like Santos learned the Greek style and brought it successfully to us for the 2016 Euro. Maybe Martinez would have learned something from his time in Belgium.

Deschamps learned that you can park the bus and counter from Portugal in 2016. He used that successfully to overcome Belgium in 2018. They had sat back and then they got a corner kick goal and shut up shop. Heck, he even got Pogba to play defense. It was a crime in the British media for Mourinho to try to get Pogba to play defense at Man U.

Martinez sat back and shut up shop in the 2020 Euro when they played us.

I think managers of good teams now know it is OK to win 1-0, especially when playing another good attacking team.

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Paulo
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Yeah Paulo well said man. Maybe we can be fortunate to get Martinez at just this right time with the benefit of his experience learning from his time with Belgium. And I agree good managers of teams know its okay to win 1-0 as well when playing...

Yeah Paulo well said man. Maybe we can be fortunate to get Martinez at just this right time with the benefit of his experience learning from his time with Belgium. And I agree good managers of teams know its okay to win 1-0 as well when playing another top team. Thats the best level of management in my opinion having the skill and tactics to play any style of football you want for different games or even moments in games. Martinez may have the perfect balance now of his attack minded philosophy with the balance brought from his disappointments knowing that it takes both attack and defense to win games.

The Belgium players never really had unity and work ethic together, whereas we have great togetherness and work hard for each other. Even though our tournament was cut short in the WC, that was one aspect of our game I liked, I saw all our players working hard together hunting in packs defending. It was very tough for any team to play through us, majority of times we swamped them in pressing together and got back the ball quickly. So our players already know how to defend good, and Martinez probably now realizes the benefits of this too, so that allied with his affinity to attack can literally create an amazing style of play for us. Looking forward to the Euro qualifiers!

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Eddie
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Get knocked out of the world cup by Morocco in the world cup quater finals...

Get rid of the manager and replace him with one that couldn't get out a group with Morocco...

This will go worse than Paulo Bento

Wowsers
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Anything and anybody is better than Santo's last few years. That alone is reason enough to be happy!

joe
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