New coach Henning Berg and recently acquired striker Orlando Sá are looking to put a spring back into Legia Warszawa's step as they resume their quest for back-to-back Polish titles.
Legia are five points clear at the Ekstraklasa summit as the spring term begins, but with the league set to divide into eight-team championship and relegation groups after 30 rounds for the first time – with points totals halved – that lead may not be as commanding as it looks. Moreover, there has been some significant scene-shifting in recent months, with coach Jan Urban dismissed in December following a disappointing UEFA Europa League group campaign, and defensive midfielder Dominik Furman sold to Toulouse FC.
Former Manchester United FC defender Berg stepped into the breach before Christmas and was quick to justify letting Furman go. "We have some good players who can replace Furman," he said. "That is part of our policy – when a good club comes to buy a player paying good money, there is no sense in blocking the move." With a reported €2.7m having been recouped for the young international, Legia have been able to bring in 25-year-old Sá, capped once by Portugal, and the joint-top scorer in the first half of the Cypriot season with 13 goals for AEL Limassol FC.
"I think this is the ideal place for me," said the former SC Braga and FC Porto man after landing in Warsaw on Thursday. "Before I came here, I spoke to Legia defender Dossa Júnior. We played together at AEL. He assured me it was worth coming."
His Norwegian boss now hopes Sá can give Legia something different as they aim for a tenth championship – and their first successful defence since 1996. "He plays a different way to the other Legia strikers so we have more options," said Berg, 44.
"Generally, I am pleased with the squad. We have ambitious players who want to push on, individually and as a team. We have a five-point lead so our goal is clear – to defend the title. If we don't, we'll be very disappointed. Legia haven't won successive titles for a while, so we want to change that. I think good times lie ahead for this club."
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