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Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:21

PortuGOAL podcast: Benfica brilliance; how important is a football team's coach?

Benfica, Porto and Sporting coaches under the spotlight

luisao-taca-da-liga-1314.jpgIn the latest PortuGOAL podcast we look at the reasons behind Benfica's wave of success, before turning our attention to the Big Three's coaches.

How much credit does Jorge Jesus deserve for the Eagles' triumphant season? Did Porto make a good appointment in Julen Lopetegui? How big a blow would it be for Sporting to lose Leonardo Jardim? Vasco Mota Pereira and Tom Kundert try to come up with some answers.

Comments (6)
Great podcast as always, but not my opinion
6 Monday, 12 May 2014 16:15
Chris Canada
Good discussion fellas. I was expecting praise for JJ and I heard it. I say expecting because even with last years "1st place loser" campaign, you were still praising JJ anyways.

So, here's the thing, JJ had literally all the tools for 5 years now. If he really was as good as you're saying, he should have won the 2010-11 Liga title over AVB, since that's the only year Benfica's squad was vastly inferior to Porto.

But he didn't did he? In fact, he lost the league to a record 22 points. That for me, is the measure of a good coach. This is why VP will always rank higher than JJ. Worse team that. SLB 2 years running, 60 games, 1 loss. Yet no one ever really heaps the same praise on that guy.

That's what bothers me the most. It's that JJ is at a club with lower expectations, so he gets away with praise for just not being relegated, but VP inherits the throne from AVB and he's considered a loser. A loser who won 5 trophies in 2 years, which includes the league title 2 times.

It took Fonseca being a mental midget to show VP's real value. Other than that, JJ is a great developer of talent, and very good offensively. He has learned this year from past mistakes and I credit him for that. But to heap the praise on as some people have is frankly exaggeration.

Cheers. And good luck to SLB on Thursday.
I agree with both you gentlemen...
5 Friday, 09 May 2014 19:14
Orlando Mac
JJ has been good for Benfica never said he hasn't.

I definitely prefer his style of play than to a manager that would look to 4-3-3 every game in every situation as Bento does with the national team.

But at the end of the day I still think JJ mismanaged the sum of his parts. We could've had more trophies especially when Porto was playing better.

So although JJ has had good seasons he is yet to have a great one. I would like this year to be that year.

We need that Euro trophy.

Now I think we can all agree that LFV has done a masterful job getting in the players, and we definitely have the quality to win, and even easily.

So is it going to be a good season or is this passionate fan-base going to be rewarded with what they deserve especially in the year that Eusebio died (our legend) a great season.

I am with you NJ on your thoughts on Porto, I hope it is not the case because we need them to be strong and for them to continue to help us in Europe as we need Sporting too also. If our league is going to be recognized as one of the best we need all 3, and we have to develop our naturally talented resources to make it really sustainable.. and bring more UCL trophies to our prospective cabinets.

Hopefully this week will come a long awaited and deserving trophy.. and we can all celebrate JJ for the good he has done.

Of course you know if I start cheering extensively for JJ, he will more than likely move on, just to piss us off...lol

Damn JJ...lol
"I think a Manager really only affects 35% of the game"
4 Friday, 09 May 2014 19:00
That's Orlando for you. Verbosity that lacks substance. The impact of a manager on a team, if given time and support to implement his ideas, is 80% of the reason why a team succeeds or fails at the end of a season (if we are going to put this into silly percentages). Training, tactics, strategy, motivation, choosing line ups, substitutions, managing injuries, buying/selling players, developing youth, improving players, having an eye for what positions a player can play (like making Matic a defensive midfielder). The way Benfica plays is not an accident. It is drilled. It takes a tremendous amount of work. While JJ did so much right, he choked at the end of the season and caused his team to fail spectacularly. 80% for the manager. 20% for everything else.
Some Thoughts
3 Friday, 09 May 2014 18:52
Benfica/JJ has had a fantastic campaign, but there's still work to do. I was who believe that JJ should have been sent packing after last campaigns debacle. We all forgot how good a season we had, due to how it finished. This seasons CL performance didn't help either.
Whether we care to admit it or not, Benfica has been very successful since JJ took over. As fans we want Silverware, but LFV has other concerns. We're still a selling club, and since JJ has been here we've profited mightily in the transfer market. We've been able to attract talent, develop players and move them on. The club has also played attractive futebol.
This campaign, JJ has been able to change tactics depending on the opponent or situation. I'm actually more impressed with how prepared the subs were mentally and tactically. Players deserve credit, but the manager needs to get them there.
Benfica is in a very nice place right now. We have players ready to be sold for profit and others that look ready to take the next step. Some of them Portuguese no less.
Plenty left to do, but no excuses. Bring the two remaining trophies home.

Porto's season was a complete debacle. PdC stumbled in his managerial pick, and the club suffered. A Plan B was never available and at times there seemed to be no Plan A. For me, the more troublesome issue, is the "on the free" players that have been linked to Porto. Are the finances in order? If not, some pockets have been filled mightily. Bringing in a "Youth" manager also points to a more frugal approach.
They have players ready to leave, quite possibly for less than anticipated, so we'll see what happens. Let's hope they get it together before the qualifiers. Portugal has earned the right to have three clubs in the CL Group Stages.

For me Sporting's resurgence doesn't begin until this offseason. Will they be able to expand on their success or drop back down. BdC has been a bit clownish, but he's been able to galvanize the fan base and that was definitely necessary. But although he's extended contracts, some players might want to move on so we'll see. We all know how players react if they aren't happy. We'll also have to see what happens with Jardim, since he was the best decision BdC.

I am happy to see the "Big 3" being big.
2 Friday, 09 May 2014 09:40
I reckon there are 3 elements which deserve the credit and praise for Benfica's remarkable season so far: LFV, JJ and the players themselves. The combined package has been outstanding over the last year, making us by far the strongest team in Portugal and one of the strongest in all of europe this season. LFV for bring continual stability to this club and keeping faith in JJ (when the rest of us, myself included, lost it at the end of last season), for continuing to bring in quality players on the relative cheap, and impressively keeping hold of all our key players in the last year, bar Matic.

The players themselves have been fantastic, in particular the new guys who joined last summer, new players normally need some time to adapt. For the most part though this season, whoever has come into the team has fitted right into JJ's system and given their all to the cause. Part of this is players being talented, part of it is JJ being a very good coach and man-manager. JJ deserves a lot of credit this season, he really does. Apart from motivating all the players, he has also proved to have learned from mistakes in the past and has adopted a much more flexible tactical approach this year. And boy has the defence improved too, one of the best in Europe this year.

Orlando Mac will always criticise JJ no matter what happens! Even if we won back to back CL titles you'd still want JJ out, nao e amigo? Lol! Yes I also lost faith in him at the end of last season, but am happy LFV didn't and this season has been a reward for that faith. Criticise when it's due, but also give credit when it's due. Perhaps we should have won more trophies in these last 5 years, but let's not discount some very strong Porto teams in this period. We also lacked some luck and breaks in the last 2 years (offside last minute goal 2 years ago and two last second goals last campaign)...can't blame all that on JJ.

I choose to focus more on the positives as always. The fact is that our club has improved heavily since JJ has been in charge. There's no doubt about that! Two Liga titles in 5 years (with a bit more luck it could've been 4), never finishing outside the top 2 in Portugal in this period, 5 consecutive European quarter finals or better (including a semi final and 2 finals), and above all we've played an attractive brand of football the whole way through. In short JJ has made this great club relevant again, after too many years of mediocrity.

I think a coach is responsible for much more than 15%, look at Atletico Madrid recently, Simeone has been instrumental in their successful last couple of seasons. Or the Galacticos Real team of years ago, they had all the "stars" in the world, but not much success. It's not just about a president loading the squad with quality players (as some people seem to think), but it's more about creating stability and putting faith in a good coach to create the long-term direction of the team.
I agree with you gentlemen on all accounts...
1 Thursday, 08 May 2014 16:02
Orlando Mac
Except for JJ of course.. I am still not sold on him fully, he can still go out and win a meaningful title in the Europa this season and grab some major applause but the job is not finished yet.

As for him leaving the club as long as the new manager doesn't revert to a stereotypical Portuguese 4-3-3 which I have a huge disdain for.. LFV has built this club to be an exciting variant of the 4-4-2 and it should stay that way. So I give JJ full credit for playing that system, just don't think he adapts well tactically late in a game when it is time to defend, although in the latter part of this season the team has improved in that way.

As I said to start this season it was going to be a bad Portuguese season altogether.. and I was not wrong.. both Porto and Benfica crashed out of the CL.. in winnable groups.. and the other no-shows really hashed things in Europe.

Fortunately both Porto and Benfica managed to turn around the campaign in the Europa.. and Benfica still has a chance to make it a good campaign.. kudos are in order here. Juve was a magnificent result..

Nothing much has changed with JJ his spots haven't turned to racing stripes yet.. it is all the same, as it has been in his tenure at Benfica.. the only difference is he had almost double the squad to choose from than he had last season.

I think a Manager really only affects 35% of the game (although bad line-ups, bad subs, and use of the full squad are very important and timely especially in big matches) in the end it does mostly come down to the players you are given.. hence the love for LFV who has outdone PDC over the last 5 years.. a huge feather because PDC is no fool.. and still punches above his weight by a huge extent. That is why LFV deserves so much praise more so than JJ.

His buying spree which I did not agree with virtually made it impossible for JJ not to win the Liga with Porto's rough season and Sporting after so much turmoil just getting back on their feet.

My major grumble still with JJ is that LFV has assembled a talented Academy of Portuguese players.. of which they see very minimal action bar a couple even tho they have impressed at other levels. LFV shouldn't be having to purchase so many players if the assets were used properly.

JJ has a love for the big southern pay cheques.. when the way forward is blending talented Portuguese youth with imports.. that is the sustainable way forward to success, not only for club but for country.

Even Oblak who has been around since an early age was being wasted.. one of the best GK's last season, he got to the Luz and was on the B team to start.. look throughout JJ's tenure.. the likes of Coentrao, etc.. were overlooked and sent packing for options that just weren't that great. Benfica still does a piss poor job of using their native assets and moving them from youth to the senior squad even tho LFV has stocked the cupboards.

So for me the jury is still out on JJ.. win the Europa and he is very deserving of praise.. if not then he is just a show pony that has never been able to handle the heavy lifting of a champion work horse, and although gifted with some great footie food, let it all go to waste in the end.

Now would I rather see him manage instead of some 4-3-3 schelp... you betcha.. because I would rather be second looking pretty than winning playing Snoria A ball with all their negative tactics.

Conte really made me laugh.. with his criticism of JJ in that account.. we are down to nine men.. and he expected us to all out attack away... really rich from the creators of catenaccio (sp? I don't speak cheatanese) and neg tactics....lol

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