Spain-based Scot Ian Cathro continuing to grow admirers

March 11, 2015

“Ian Cathro has not followed a conventional career path, but he has still encountered lingering assumptions. During his first pre-season as assistant coach at Rio Ave in Portugal, a training session based on running rather than ball work prompted some players to cast withering glances his way. As a Scotsman, even one whose very presence in the Portuguese top-flight at an age when he was younger than many of the players in the squad was unorthodox, still prompted stereotypical thinking.” BBC


Deco’s Instrumental Display in Porto’s 2003/2004 Champions League Final Win

February 10, 2015

“‘He’s taught me many, many things. When he came to Porto he brought a new mentality. Many players didn’t believe it was possible to win the Champions League. I’ll never forget that. We had a good team but his narrow-mindedness showed us how to do well and win the big games.’ These were the words muttered by Deco as he mused upon the incredible belief that Jose Mourinho instilled into the Porto squad that won the 2003/2004 Champions League. And what a triumph it was. Along the way they knocked out the likes Manchester United, Lyon and Deportivo la Coruna before defeating Monaco in the final. The remarkable 3-0 win over Didier Deschamps’ men in the final showed just how far Mourinho had brought this side.” Licence to Roam


Portugese Column: Why do Benfica underperform in Europe?

December 2, 2014

“The midweek European matches saw current Portuguese champions Benfica get knocked out of international competitions for the season. Since Jorge Jesus took over in 2009, Benfica have won the title twice and played in the Champions League group phase five times, yet only once have they qualified for the latter stages. And whilst on all other occasions they managed to hold on to the third spot and subsequent qualification for the Europa League, this time not even the last group game against Bayer Leverkusen will help them go above fourth place.” Outside of the Boot


Five things we learned this week in the Primeira Liga

October 8, 2014

“For the second game in a row, the Primeira Liga champions had to wait until the last 20 minutes to breakthrough a stubborn defence. Benfica eventually ran out 4-0 winners over Arouca at the Estádio da Luz but for a long time it seemed to heading for a stalemate. This game was an interesting one as it was the first time ‘Aguias’ fans got to see Lisandro López in action. The 25-year-old Argentinian centre back signed for Benfica from Argentinian side Arsenal de Sarandi in 2013 but was loaned out to La Liga side Getafe for all of last season. López was signed as a long term replacement for Ezequiel Garay who joined Zenit Saint Petersburg in the summer. Arouca defended deeply in the first half forcing Benfica to shoot from distance. Arouca looked far more dangerous going forward and forced Artur into making a couple of decent saves.” backpagefootball


Tactical Analysis | Atletico 1-0 Juventus : Atletico up the tempo to grab an important winner

October 3, 2014

“The second gameweek of the UEFA Champions League had some tasty encounters in store for all viewers, with a number of top teams clashing. In terms of results and entertainment too, it didn’t disappoint, with lots of goals, and a lot of good, competitive football. One of the tastiest fixtures was Atletico hosting Juventus. It was a clash of Champions from Spain and Italy. Coming into the game, Juventus had a 100% record, with no goals conceded. Atletico have made a good start, but find themselves in third after a few indifferent results. This was a different situation, as Atletico had lost their opening fixture in Greece, and a positive result against Juventus was absolutely vital. The Italians were up against it, as a daunting home support, combined with Atleti’s usual aggressive approach had meant that they had 17 wins in their last 19 European fixtures.” Outside of the Boot


Barça face cross-border issues, Athletic hit rock bottom

October 1, 2014

“‘Ha! Zat eez wot ‘appens when ze Barca do not have ze Granada every week! Ha!’ snarked a much-loved French friend of LLL after PSG’s 3-2 victory in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Actually, that’s a bit of a porky-pie lie. The voice creeped out the imaginary mouth of an imaginary French friend living in the blog’s largely empty head. It is very unloved. Although it’s a little knee-jerk, which is what LLL is all about deep down, this is one possible reaction to Barcelona’s first loss this season – and the first goals conceded for that matter.” FourFourTwo


Reviving Benfica: The Return Of Bela Guttmann

September 24, 2014

“Early in August, Bela Guttmann returned to Lisbon to be greeted at the airport by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of players, directors and fans all hysterically delighted to welcome him home. For the Hungarian born, naturalised Austrian, ‘home’ now is surely Lisboa, for although it is now more than three years since he quit, it has never ceased to be clear that Guttmann left his heart with Benfica. This being so, it becomes difficult to understand why he left in the first place, for there was never any suggestion of the directors sacking him, or another club attracting him. His resignation, announced so sensationally in London, where Benfica were to meet Tottenham Hotspur in the Semi-Final of the European Cup only 24 hours later, was a typically Guttmann touch for while the decision had been made months before, he withheld the announcement until it could bring the maximum benefit to Benfica.” In Bed With Maradona


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