Can Porto’s current manager follow the footsteps of giants?

Vitor Pereira has been manager of FC Porto since 2011 after initially becoming Andre Villas-Boas’ assistant in the 2010-2011 season. After the record breaking successes of the special one and AVB can Pereira replicate such a high level of management?

The short answer seems to be yes. During his début season as Porto manager Pereira secured the Portuguese league and the Portuguese super cup yet failed to secure the UEFA Super Cup after AVB’s Europa League success the previous season. However the confidence within the squad for their new manager could led to further great successes.

Certainly Villas-Boas has left a highly talented squad for Pereira to work with. Helton is a truly world class goalkeeper that can easily earn his side a good 15 league points every season. The acquisition of Steven Defour in 2011 was an astute purchase and represents another talented emerging Belgian talent and at a reported fee of €6m should be viewed as a bargain. His midfield partner Joao Moutinho remains one of the best midfielder in Europe and Porto done well to fend off interest from AVB at Tottenham Hotspurs amongst other suitors. Despite the loss of Hulk to Zenit the huge figure of €40 that was recouped can be used to add depth and quality in equal measures to the side.

The current Porto side has enough talent and enough about it to certainly give teams headaches on the European stage, and another Europa League success would put Vitor Pereira potentially on the same path outwards that has been well trodden by the previously mentioned Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas, but who exactly is Vitor Pereira?

At 44 years of age Pereira still has his best managerial years ahead of him and landing himself the Porto job after a year of assistant managerial life at the club is a huge step forward. Pereira’s playing profile is far from impressive as he retired at the age of 29 after playing in Portugal’s regional leagues. In comparison to Mourinho and Villas-Boas, so far so good. Pereira learnt his trade through the Portuguese lower leagues on the management front also, after managing A.D. Sanjoanense, S.C. Espinho and finally C.D. Santa Clara in division two. After third and fourth place finishes Pereira narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight. However Porto spotted his potential and he quickly become Villas-Boas’ assistant in the summer of 2010.

Porto’s season so far has certainly started on the right track after lifting the Super Cup, the side has gone on to claim 7 points out of a possible 9 in the league before beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 away in the UEFA Champions League. The win will help spring hope that Porto could finish in the top two and secure qualification to the last 16 in a group consisting of moneybags PSG and Dynamo Kyiv. Certainly Porto are being mentioned quietly in some quarters as the competition’s dark horses given the ability of the team.

However Porto fans would probably accept that continued silverware domestically would help the development of the side and should remain the top priority. However a good run in Europe would not only give the club added financial benefits but also the experience required to perhaps push on and compete in future seasons of Europe’s top competition.

Certainly Pereira has begun his Porto audition very well and could well attract further interest with continued success. Porto, on the other hand, will be craving stability after losing so many world class managers over recent seasons. Could Pereira follow suit and become one of Europe’s finest? Only time will tell but don’t bet against it…

Tomos Llewellyn

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