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Friday, 07 June 2013 15:03

'The Professor' takes over at Bragajesualdo_ferreira_braga_lusa.jpg

Jesualdo Ferreira returns to 'The Quarry'

Jesualdo Ferreira was officially unveiled as Sporting Braga's coach this week, in the wake of the Minho club's decision to part with José Peseiro. With a distinguished track-record, and fresh from an effective stint in charge of Sporting, Ferreira appears a good fit for a club who promised much, but largely disappointed last season. PortuGOAL's Stephen Gillett takes a look at the return of 'The Professor' to the team he first managed between 2003-06.

Expectations at Braga were rightly high at the start of last season: Champions League football beckoned, as did another opportunity to challenge Benfica and Porto's domestic prominence in the Primeira Liga. 

Despite often looking the part, however, Braga came up short when it really mattered both at home and abroad - a notable cup success over Porto not sparing Peseiro the boot come the season's end.

Axe falls on Peseiro

The outgoing manager's exit was not too hard to fathom. Question marks had been raised throughout the season at his inflexible tactics, many attributing defeats - particularly at home to Manchester United in Europe and Porto in the league - to Peseiro's inability to make big decisions when it mattered. In the United clash, for example, Peseiro refused to make substitutions to strengthen Braga's hand while they held a 1-0 advantage - only throwing fresh legs into the fray once the Premier League side (who eventually won 3-1) had levelled.

In Peseiro's defence, Braga did win silverware and finished a respectable fourth in the league, only denied a Champions League place by an outstanding and sustained effort from Paços de Ferreira. It could also be argued that Braga suffered injuries to key players, such as Rubén Micael and Éder, at bad times. However, fourth in the Primeira Liga and only Europa League football at 'The Quarry' next season does not satisfy Braga's ambitions these days and Peseiro's exit and Ferreira's appointment were no surprise.

Ferreira turns tide for Sporting

Ferreira returned to Portuguese football in some style with Sporting this year after a tricky two-year spell as boss of Greek giants Panathinaikos came to an end in 2012. With over thirty years of coaching experience, during which he has occupied the hotseat at all of Portugal's 'Big Three', 'The Professor' certainly appears qualified to help Braga reassert themselves. 

The praise thrown Ferreira's way by his players at Sporting suggests Braga have made a solid appointment.

In the wake of Ferreira's exit from the Alvalade - where he has been replaced by Leonardo Jardim - the likes of Dutch striker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Spanish winger Diego Capel took to social media to pay tribute to him: Wolfswinkel stating that the Mirandela-born coach had the respect of every player at the Alvalade and Capel adding that he was 'proud' to have worked under him. 

Ferreira's impact at Sporting certainly shouldn't be underestimated - his thoughtful leadership and faith in emerging talents such as Tiago Ilori, Bruma and Eric Dier helping to turn around a season that, under Sá Pinto and Franky Vercauteren, saw Os Leões flirting with a relegation battle. 

In fact, the re-emergence of André Martins - called up by Portugal for the first time for today's World Cup qualifier against Russia - can also be credited to Ferreira, who appears to ally a strong tactical understanding of the game with an ability to motivate and instill discipline in his players.

In-tray at the AXA

In terms of his in-tray at the AXA, one item of business seems to take precedence: that of sorting out the future of striker Éder. The Portuguese international caught the eye of a host of clubs last season after scoring 13 goals in 18 games.

Though still recovering from a cruciate injury sustained in March, the athletic forward is being linked to Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Newcastle, and Ferreira will first need to apply his intellect to gauging whether Éder is worth more on the pitch than he is to Braga's bank balance.  

Comments (3)
JF Braga
3 Sunday, 09 June 2013 14:05
Braga are were their at today because of this man. Jesualdo Ferreira made Braga become the fourth best team in Portugal, even though lately I consider them third ; )
Good news or too late?
2 Sunday, 09 June 2013 02:18
By all accounts Braga, and quite possibly Ferreira, made the right choice here.
I really thought that the window had shut in Braga. For me, they haven't done enough for the club with the CL opportunities. This squad doesn't have coveted younger players and counted on loan players. Why did Braga move Pizi so early, if they had some European money coming. It's not worth it to go into debt, but we should be seeing a stronger outlook.
As for Ferreira, he'll do a good job. He was never the new Maca Podres choice, so it was inevitable. I will say that Sportings situation and outlook is very poor. I get the wage bill reduction, but they're going to scare young commodities away.
I laughed when I saw how much they expected to get from players they had loaned out. None of those names will return that much money.

I wish Ferreira does well. Portugal needs stronger clubs, period. Pacos has been gutted so we need a Braga to step up.
Good hire by Braga
1 Saturday, 08 June 2013 05:14
Great to see Jesualdo Ferreira get the Braga job, and stay in Portugal (and not join the exodus to the Middle East). I always thought he did well at Sporting, and Sporting was on the way up, and would have done well under Ferreira. I guess Jardim was too much of a temptation for Godinho Lopes. But I'm looking forward to Braga doing well next year with Ferreira, and giving Benfica/Porto a run for their money.

Any idea where Peseiro will go?

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