“It was a breath of fresh air”

Rui Duarte recalls the arrival of the current FC Porto coach at Olhanense.

FC Porto coach Sérgio Conceição has progressed in the “tactical and strategic component” since his debut on the benches, praises former footballer and fellow professional Rui Duarte, who closely followed his first steps.

“Perhaps there was a very vertical football at the beginning, but in recent years the tactical aspect has evolved and is present in the strategic issues of the team. “3-4-3″ by Ruben Amorim [técnico do Sporting] with great skill or adapting to the tactical variability typical of the Champions League,” the former midfielder told the Lusa agency.

Former Portuguese international Sérgio Conceição won his third national title in his fifth season in charge of FC Porto, a club for which he had already won a Portuguese Cup and two Super Cups, in a total of 270 appearances.

“It’s been a fantastic season for FC Porto and very enjoyable for their fans, with good football and dominance in almost every game. There was perhaps more to do in European competitions, but it ‘was visible in the press conferences how he conveyed the message that he could not do more. The title is well delivered and the whole structure, including the coach and the players, is to be congratulated’ , he noted.

The constant shift between the structures of “4-4-2”, “4-3-3” and “4-2-3-1” leads Rui Duarte to consider that he has seen dragons throughout this period “much more concerned with implementing things according to the evolution trend of the game and the teams”.

“Sérgio Conceição has already been in charge of the team for five years and it is obviously growing. There are always new things to add, because he also risked entering a moment of passivity, which later can be bad. I think he’s been smart to bring things that add physical, tactical and strategic value to the team.”

The 43-year-old former midfielder recalls Sérgio Conceição’s predisposition as soon as he began his career as head coach at Olhanense, then in I Liga, in January 2012, with “the clear objective” of “stabilizing and create an impact on the results”. go up there. »

“The preparation for the week was all about what we will find in the game. There was a lot of quality in training. Everything was done in detail and with a very strong identity in each exercise. For me , it was a breath of fresh air and we were completely identified”, detailed the captain of the Olhão club at the time.

Sérgio Conceição, then 37, replaced the Portuguese-Mozambican Daúto Faquirá and made his debut for the Algarve with a defeat against Marítimo (1-2), in the 14th final of the I Liga, “sealed” with goals from the Tunisian Selim Benachour and the Brazilian Danilo Dias, against that of Rui Duarte, from the penalty spot, which distinguished “a positive impact” in the technical transition.

“The coach always wanted more and also encouraged us to want more as a group and individually. The demand that came through every game and every week was incredible. There were no limits. Just to give an example “If we thought that the demand would go down having won a match, it was exactly the opposite. The demand was even greater”, he illustrated.

Olhanense was 10th in the standings, with 14 points, three above the relegation zone, but would end the season eighth, with 39, while the Coimbra coach, who was assistant to Belgian side Standard Liege ( 2010/11), cemented the relationship at the Bank.

From the current technical staff of FC Porto, assistants Vítor Bruno and Siramana Dembelé and goalkeeping coach Diamantino Figueiredo accompanied Sérgio Conceição during the following stays at Académica (2013-2014), Sporting de Braga (2014/15), Vitória de Guimarães (2015/16), Nantes (2016/17) and FC Porto (since 2017/18).

“From the beginning, they are people he trusts. At the beginning, Vítor Bruno was not even number two. He started as a physical trainer and was comfortable in training and had a great knowledge of the game. He grew up and is now Sérgio’s right-hand man. Conceição. Everyone loved him, because he was very active, assertive and competent”, he rewound.

If the Frenchman Siramana Dembelé, with whom he shared a dressing room as a Liège player (2005/06 and 2006/07), “is a person who is very attentive to details and to statistical questions”, Diamantino Figueiredo “has a knowledge and a high skill” in goal training.

“I have my identity and I have no intention of copying anyone, but Sérgio Conceição is obviously a reference. His competence is in the eyes of everyone. I am proud to have been trained by him. He brought me different things, which naturally passed by my side as a coach”, admitted Rui Duarte, who stopped playing in 2014/15.

Sérgio Conceição, 47, could become the only coach in FC Porto history to repeat the ‘double’ if he wins the Portuguese Cup against Tondela, but the former midfielder, who left the helm in November 2021 from Trofense, from League II, provides for larger flights.

“Champions League? I think it’s a sincere, real and achievable ambition in your head. If it’s at FC Porto, everything is possible with this requirement and this concentration, but the lives of coaches are not all at the same club. A very strong bond.” at the club, knowing that he has fulfilled his mission, I believe that he wants to move on to another challenge and is thinking about new possibilities to claim another type of titles”, he said.

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