António Oliveira, coach who guided Benfica’s B team during the second half of the season – after Nélson Veríssimo’s rise to the helm of the main team at the expense of the departure of Jorge Jesus – was this Thursday the guest of the BTV’s ‘Aquecimento’ program, where he was called to explain some of the statements he made after the Sabseg League eagles’ B side’s last game, against FC Porto.
Speaking to ‘Porto Canal’, António Oliveira made some criticisms of the club, highlighting the ‘very complicated context’ in which he was inserted and in which he was forced to give up a dream he had sold to the players , that of the 2nd League, due to the club’s bet on the under-19s, the A team and in the conquest of the Youth League.
“First of all, thank you for the invitation. It has been a while since I came to this house which has always welcomed me in the best possible way. Regarding the statements at the end of the game [FC Porto B-Benfica B] and congratulations regarding the opponent, it has to do with my way of being in life, in sport and more specifically in football. These are values that they transmitted to me at home, but not only, they were also transmitted to me over the 12 years spent in this house, whether it was this rival or another. It’s my way of being, it doesn’t matter that I’m someone who can’t take defeat well, but you have to be resilient to the point of being able to deal with it and bounce back quickly. Knowing how to win, knowing how to lose, respect the opponent… And it is in this perspective that I congratulated this opponent, but it could have been someone else if he had gone to another media.”
Do you regret the decision you made?
“No, because as I said, it’s my way of being. I understand and understand people, because often the follower is much more emotional than rational. I think that especially, in the troubled moment when our football, the sports agents, and at the time when I was explaining it, you have to set an example, no matter how the opponent may have won. It’s no longer my competence. Above all, it’s very much due to that : in my way of being, of living, of being in football, and as a sports agent, I think that it is we who must set an example and show this rationality in football, which is often 90% emotion.”
Are Benfica injured? Is this a small group outing?
“No, not at all. I get on well with everyone. I met amazing people who gave me the opportunity to relive [tudo]. People who saw me growing up in this “nest”. I also had the opportunity to meet other great people. […]. I like structure, I like people. The media, but that’s part of the rules of the game and you also often have to be more careful, people will then write what they want and maybe that will encourage more blood. We know how it works. In this perspective, I have always been very clear, in my statements, that I was always in line with what was Benfica’s sporting project to the detriment of my personal ambitions.”
“I sold a dream to players which I later realized was difficult to achieve, which was the 2nd League title, but Benfica’s project went through the Youth League, Under-19 years and the A team. In the last two months, we have ceased to be a group. ” I would like you to explain these words that you said, because the question that leads me to ask you is the following “Didn’t António know when he arrived at Benfica that Benfica had this strategy and that they had open teams?”
“Of course I do. I am competitive by nature, whatever the background, nothing prevents me from being competitive. The projects I join and participate in are always with the intention of being able to and always playing for win these titles because these are my ambitions, even if I know in advance that very often, in very difficult circumstances, nothing stops me because it is my competitive side and it will always accompany me in my career. , we don’t even need to talk to me a lot, if you have the same parameters as me, you want to win, we are aligned And in this perspective, knowing the sporting context of Benfica, which I already knew, regarding the priorities in the Youth League and the under-19s also promoting this dream was important for us to stay in the top 5. Maybe if it hadn’t been like that we would have fallen there and I think the time and the quality of the work that has been developed for other e t for me, it deserved an outcome as it happened to this team, which broke numbers and several records and fills us with pride.”
Did your statements cause discomfort?
“On the contrary, I think that if the success of this season of this training department has to do with this aspect of solidarity and cooperation between all the coaches and teams, and in this perspective, we have the achievement of something that Benfica has been going on for a long time: the Youth League. A trophy that Benfica lacked. And the under-19s, who are one step away, of course, it’s not just them to become national champions. And what’s more, the B team, even knowing that the priorities were different and the goals were achieved – which was to stay in the top half of the table and be the best B team ever – that was also achieved We always want more and if I can play for the first, I win’ It was always with this in mind that I sold this dream, to keep a more mature, more competitive, more ambitious team, to put other stronger teams.
“60% of the B team players are responsible for the Youth League title. This is not a victory for one person, but especially for Benfica.” Who were you referring to when you said that? A coach like Luís Castro who listens to this has no reason to feel affected?”
“It’s not meant to hit coach A, B or C or person A, B or C. Above all, it’s not just an acknowledgment and all the statements I make are true. I have it done so far. It’s a fact that 60% belong to the B team. It’s a set of a lot of players, the fact that they move into a more mature league, which then when they play with elements of the same age makes it easier. There is not only the recognition of those who, well led by Luís, and by all the elements, in Switzerland, represented in the best way and managed to achieve the objective It’s really a victory for Benfica, even because the Youth League team is not really a team, is formed by three teams, the under-19s, the under-23s and the team. B. It is work that should be valued by all coaches.”
Luís Castro himself said it was a victory for everyone. More than the coaches, he says it’s a victory for everyone at Seixal…
“Exactly, it’s a win for Benfica. The shine must be directed at the players because they are the performers and who best represent what we coaches want,” he concluded.