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Blind faith powers Porto to glory

Published: Monday 11 May 2009, 9.24CET
A jubilant Jesualdo Ferreira saluted his triumphant FC Porto squad which helped him become the first Portuguese coach to take three successive league titles on Sunday, saying: "I always believed blindly in my players."
by José Nuno Pimentel
from Lisbon
Blind faith powers Porto to glory
Porto celebrate winning the title on Sunday ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 11 May 2009, 9.24CET

Blind faith powers Porto to glory

A jubilant Jesualdo Ferreira saluted his triumphant FC Porto squad which helped him become the first Portuguese coach to take three successive league titles on Sunday, saying: "I always believed blindly in my players."

Jesualdo Ferreira saluted the FC Porto squad which helped him become the first Portuguese coach to take three successive league titles at the weekend, saying: "I always believed blindly in my players."

Portuguese first
Sunday's 1-0 victory against CD Nacional saw Ferreira, who turns 63 on 24 May – the final day of the Liga season – break new ground. While Artur Jorge won three titles, no local coach had ever won three in a row until Ferreira, although three foreign specialists had managed that feat: Hungarian Lipót Herczka (SL Benfica 1936-38) and Englishmen Randolph Galloway (Sporting Clube de Portugal 1951-53) and Jimmy Hagan (Benfica 1971-73).

Blind faith
Reflecting on this season, Ferreira said: "Getting new players used to their team always involves difficulties, even more so with players coming into a new country, but since November the team has developed well. Many times this season few people believed in this team but I always believed blindly in my players so I am thankful to them and they have now made history. Even when the results weren't what we wanted, we never cracked up."

Four-time champions
A major celebration had been planned in advance as Porto celebrated their 24th Liga title – their sixth in the last seven seasons and 17th in the last 25 years. Captain Bruno Alves' goal two minutes into the second half got the party under way and fans stayed at the Estádio do Dragão after the final whistle as special attention was lavished upon four-time title winners Helton, Alves, Raul Meireles, Lisandro and the injured Lucho.

On the streets
Afterwards, the celebrations spilled out into the streets, with fans congregating in the Avenida dos Aliados and Ribeira, near the Douro river. There may yet be time for more celebrations, with Porto awaiting the 31 May Portuguese Cup final against an FC Paços de Ferreira team now guaranteed a place in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. With two Liga games also remaining, Ferreira is postponing any talk of signing a new contract with Porto. "We have more Liga games and a cup final to win, so I won't worry about that," he said. "When the president decides the future of the technical staff, you will be informed."

Last updated: 11/05/09 13.15CET

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