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Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:41

Paulo Fonseca: "I gave my all"

Coach axed by FC Porto, Luís Castro takes the reins

Porto.gifpaulo-fonseca-20131105.jpgWhat a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago Paulo Fonseca's Paços de Ferreira were riding high in 3rd place in the table. The then 40-year-old coach was in the midst of masterfully guiding the Castores to their greatest ever season. Yesterday Fonseca was sacked by FC Porto after singularly failing to meet the different level of demands required of the leader of the Portuguese champions.

Following Fonseca's summer appointment at the Estádio do Dragão, the early indications had been promising. Porto won the Super Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over Vitória Guimarães, and reeled off six straight wins at the start of 2013/14.

But while the early results were positive, the performance levels gradually deteriorated, especially in the Champions League, where Porto failed to win any of their three group stage home matches for the first time in their history, and only collected one win in the whole campaign. Four defeats in the league saw the pressure mounting on Fonseca, especially given the team's abject failure to hold onto a lead. Seven times under Fonseca Porto failed to convert a winning position into victory, including twice throwing away 2-goal leads in his last three matches in charge.

By the time Porto drew 2-2 at Guimarães on Sunday, an early five-point advantage in the standings had turned into a 9-point deficit behind leaders Benfica leaving Porto president Pinto da Costa with no choice but to show Fonseca the door. Given the reports that Fonseca had three times offered his resignation, and the general lost demeanour of the coach in recent weeks, the term "being relieved" of one's duties is especially apt in this case.

Fonseca is young enough to bounce back, and his heroics at Paços and conspicuous success at other lower league clubs cannot be put down to luck.

"Things didn't go well, but I leave with my conscience clear that I gave my all, in a serious, dedicated and honest way. That's football. Things don't always go as we want or as we planned. I would like to thank everybody who worked with me. I feel I learned a lot at FC Porto," said Fonseca. 

The new man at the helm is Luís Castro who takes over at least until the end of the season after doing a fine job with Porto's B team, the current leaders of the Portuguese second division.

As for the longer-term solution, Estoril's Marco Silva continues to be heavily linked with job, although the youngest coach in the Liga Zon Sagres said nobody from Porto had made contact with him.

by Tom Kundert

Comments (2)
2 Monday, 10 March 2014 13:03
I wish Fonseca the best but he wasn't delivering. Yes, there are deeper issues at the club, but he was just not getting the best out of the club.

Castro looked good yesterday. There are still some defensive issues but he needs time. I think he may actually be up for the job full time. We shall see.
1 Saturday, 08 March 2014 01:10
Luis Castro might just surprise a few. He really delivered with the B team, and it certainly will be exciting to see what he can make of the big boys.

As for other candidates in case Castro isn't the real deal, I think Porto's management has a particularly good eye on Vitor Pereira, AVB and Marco Silva. Jesualdo Ferreira just looks exhausted, so I think it'll stand between the three former.

Exciting times for Porto.

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