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Tuesday, 18 May 2010 16:13

Official: Santos steps down at PAOK

“It’s best for everyone”

Portuguese coach Fernando Santos has confirmed his decision to leave Greek club PAOK FC, after three years in charge at the Thessaloniki outfit.

PAOK held a press conference this afternoon during which Santos thanked the club and explained his decision to leave at the end of what has been a highly successful season, in which the team secured their place in the Champions League qualifying rounds for next term.

“I would like to thank the president for his offer of a new three-year deal and apologise to him and everyone who tried to keep me at the club,” Santos said. “It was a huge honour and pleasure to work at this great club for the last three years, and to put a small stone in the building for the future.

“At this moment, I would like to thank everyone who has worked with me for these three years and contributed to the success: the players; the technical staff; president Zagorakis; Mr. Vryzas; Sergio Conceicao. And the fans of PAOK - you are the body and soul of this great club. Thank you for everything, for the respect you have shown me these three years.

Related article: Jorge Costa in frame as Santos prepares to quit PAOK

“I made my decision about two months ago. I think the last three years have been very exhausting for me and I no longer feel I am in condition to give all of myself. The new project requires 100% effort and dedication, as well as 24-hour commitment to the team.

“The decision is one that is good for me, but also for the best for club. If I’m not 100% ready to take on new challenges, it definitely isn’t good for me, but also it is not good for the team. I live to be fully focused on my work, but sometimes you can tire and anyone who knows me knows I am honest with myself.”

During his time at PAOK, Santos has overseen a huge improvement in the team’s performance. The side ended his first year in charge in 9th place, which was followed by a huge improvement and a runners-up finish last season. However, PAOK failed to reach the Champions League via the end-of-season play-offs on that occasion, a feat they finally achieved this term.

By Sean Gillen

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