Connect with us

Interviews

Q&A: Everything you need to know about Porto for the 2014/15 season

Julen Lopetegui

 


In the excitement of the new season, supporters are often guilty of creating over-the-top expectations and landing up disappointed when the clubs fail to meet those objectives. Often all we need is a bit of perspective from experts to maintain rational thought; our Q&A mini-series going into the 2014/15 season serves this purpose.

Tom Kundert is the expert for the latest Q&A, focusing on FC Porto. Tom is the chief editor of PortuGoal.net and co-author of “A Journey through Portuguese Football

Rest of the World

Get in touch here if you’re interested in contributing to any of our Team Blogs

As a manager, Julen Lopetegui doesn’t have the most impressive CV, coaching mostly youth teams. What happens if this risk doesn’t pay off?

There can be no doubting it’s a huge gamble taken by FC Porto president Pinto da Costa. Benfica have been threatening to end Porto’s hegemony of Portuguese football in recent years, and should Porto fail to win the championship it will be the first time since the turn of the century that the Dragons have gone two seasons without lifting the title.

The president has given the new coach licence to build his own squad and spent big in the process. But it is Lopetegui’s first job at a big club and outside of his home country, and it remains to be seen whether he can mould an impressive-looking group of players into a cohesive team. Failure could feasibly bring the curtain down on Pinto da Costa’s historical presidency.

How crucial were the departures of players like James and Moutinho in weakening the Porto midfield last season? And what sort of measures do you think the new manager will take to re-strengthen it?

Absolutely crucial. Moutinho especially was the heartbeat of the team, while James provided the creative spark that was badly missed in last season’s disastrous campaign. A string of exciting options from midfield onwards (Jackson, Quaresma and Quintero, and new signings Tello, Óliver, Adrián López and Brahimi) should help Lopetegui make Porto more of a threat going forward, but with the sale of Moutinho, Lucho González and Fernando in the last year, the Spanish coach has to find a true leader on the pitch.

Julen Lopetegui

Porto have a very interesting attacking line-up, with players like Jackson, Quaresma, Quintero, Tello, and Adrián all capable of slotting in seamlessly. How do these players need to be incorporated?

Very good question. Add the players I listed in my answer to the previous question, not forgetting the talented Evandro, Kelvin and Sami, and one can see Porto are loaded with attacking options. It will be fascinating to see how/if Lopetegui manages to get the most out of such an array of offensive talent and whether he can keep all the players happy when inevitably several will have limited chances.

We track the progress and performances of youngsters with our Talent Radar feature. Óliver Torres, who is on loan from Atletico, has shown a lot of promise in the few appearances he made for his parent club. Can he become a fixture in this team?

I don’t know the player well enough to answer the question. All I can say is that he has looked bright in pre-season, and given that the coach made him one of his first signings you would have to say he has a good chance of establishing himself in the team.

MORE READING | FC Porto Tactical Preview: How will Julen Lupetegui’s side set-up in the 2014/15 season?

Although Portuguese sides have done well in Europe’s “second competition”, they look far from achieving success that Porto did exactly 10 years back. While teams that do achieve it always look towards talent from the Portuguese league. What could be the reason then that the clubs lag behind?

Money. Simple as that. Portuguese clubs’ lack of financial clout means the likes of Porto and Benfica are forced to sell their best players to direct rivals year after year. It is unrealistic to expect them to then go and beat them with a set of younger, more inexperienced replacements.  

Essentially, this could be seen as a season of transition, with a new manager coming in. But is that understanding going to dampen the expectations that Porto fans have? Surely supporters can’t handle another Portuguese clean sweep by Benfica?

Despite last season’s clean sweep by their biggest rivals, Porto’s big investments in the close season and the way Benfica’s team has been ripped apart in the summer transfer market have combined to raise expectations among Porto fans. They will be satisfied with nothing less than a championship win.

Casemiro didn’t get too many opportunities to impress at Real Madrid. What role do you see him having in the side?

Another good question. Porto seem to lack a No.6 in the wake of Fernando’s sale to Manchester City and Casemiro is probably earmarked for this role. He will however have to re-educate himself as to what is required in that position as he is naturally a more attacking player. If he does so, a starting berth is there for the taking.

Leocisio Sami is a player that very little is known of outside the Portuguese league, but supporters are excited. What is your opinion on him?

He’s done well at Marítimo, and has looked lively in several pre-season games. He is usually a handful for defenders and has an eye for goal but I’m not sure he’s Porto standard to be blunt, and given the fierce competition for places among the attacking players I do not expect him to feature much, if at all, for Porto in 2014/15.

Benfica have now taken on the role of the big boys, dominating Porto across competitions last season. What are your thoughts on their chances this season given the confidence of the side and experience of the manager?

It’s back to the drawing board for Jorge Jesus after seeing his team decimated in the summer transfer market. He needs to build a new side. Having said that, I believe that for all his eccentricities and arrogance, Jesus is an outstanding coach, certainly the best in Portugal at the moment, so I wouldn’t rule them out of the title. It will be crucial for Benfica that they don’t drop too many points in the early months of the season as the team is being reconstructed.

Much could rest on how quickly Lopetegui gets Porto firing on all cylinders. If the Spaniard struggles to begin with I think we could be in for another terrific championship race in Portugal, and I wouldn’t rule out Sporting being involved.

Questions answered by Tom Kundert. Follow him on Twitter @Portu_Goal


 

You can read all our interviews and Q&A’s here. Check out all articles under our Rest of the World blog.

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football2 months ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: U-23 Young Indian Players’ Team of the Season

At the end of the 2017-18 Indian Super League season, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot...

Indian Football2 months ago

Scout Report: Jerry Lalrinzuala | India’s Promising Young Defender

Hrishi Anand provides a scout report which analyses India and Chennaiyin’s promising young defender, Jerry Lalrinzuala Indian football has taken...

Scout Report2 months ago

Scout Report: Houssem Aouar | Lyon’s young midfield star

Kwame Atteen writes a detailed scout report about Houssem Aouar, the Lyon and France midfielder. While we are all so...

Talent Radar3 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #16: Youri Tielemans and Patrick Cutrone feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar4 months ago

Brasileirão U-23 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 Brasileirao season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar4 months ago

2017 Meiji Yasuda J1 League: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Steven Davies sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Opinions4 months ago

The Resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner

Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 0-2 Bengaluru

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 0-2 Bengaluru Bengaluru FC scored...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin Chennaiyin FC came...

Talent Radar4 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 3-0 ATK

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 3-0 ATK Playing the...

Indian Football4 months ago

Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: The Enduring Allure Of The Kolkata Derby

Arinjay Ghosh looks at the significance of the Kolkata Derby and why in the ever-changing landscape of Indian football, Mohun...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters Iain...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 2-2 Bengaluru

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 2-0 Bengaluru When Delhi...

Bengaluru FC5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK

Arnab Ray discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru 1-0 ATK With the Indian...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-1 FC Goa

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-1 FC Goa FC Goa...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United This...

Tactical Analysis5 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona | Los Blancos Implode in the 2nd Half

Om Arvind provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona Barcelona were 11...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos ATK rode...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this