Fernando Santos's Portugal manifesto
Having confirmed his new four-year contract as Portugal coach – a deal that will take him to the end of his side’s UEFA EURO 2020 campaign – Fernando Santos pledged to stick to the same guiding ethos: winning.
Less than a fortnight after steering Portugal to their first major final tournament success, Fernando Santos joined Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) president Fernando Gomes to lay out plans for the coming years.
Fernando Gomes spoke first, thanking the 61-year-old coach for “the commitment, dedication and ideas that allowed Portugal to win a first European title at senior level”, adding that the FPF had told the coach back in May that they were eager to keep him on board to “continue to help Portuguese football evolve”. Here is what the coach had to say.
On the contract extension
I thank the president for his faith and I wish to underline his management and strategic plan. We agreed just before the EURO to talk about this renewal after the tournament, and after the Austria match [a 0-0 draw in the group stage] – when many doubted us – the president told me he was still counting on me for the next four years. We talked again after a very emotional and tiring week and we easily reached an agreement that allows me to continue for four more years. Now we must keep working harder.
On Portugal’s objectives
No targets were set for me. The president knows how I work and think. He knows my goals are always the same: to work even harder to lead Portugal to what every one of us wants. We have a key word from day one which is ‘winning’ and we are going to keep fighting hard to keep doing that. There was no target set when I signed my first contract either; they showed great trust in my work.
On the pressure to win more
There is no pressure, only duty. I always give my best; we have responsibilities, but those have not changed. Winning the EURO is just that; we are champions and that’s it – it does not give us any extra status. I can only promise that we will work hard, as we have so far, and if possible that we will work harder and do better, with the ambition of winning every match. But that’s every coach’s ambition. I don’t make long-term promises. I can only reaffirm that the Portuguese can continue to believe in their national team.
On bringing in younger players
I have always said that I don’t know how to start revolutions. Renewing the team is a normal and natural process, and this national team will continue to be open to all Portuguese players, at home and abroad, no matter how old they are. All my decisions will be made in the interest of the national team. I’ll select the players I feel can bring something to the national team, regardless of their age.