FC Porto have appointed José Couceiro as their new coach, replacing Spaniard Víctór Fernández who was dismissed last night.
Couceiro, who has signed a contract until the end of next season, accepted the Porto post after resigning as coach at Vitória FC, whom he leaves in the safe waters of eighth place in the SuperLiga. "I'm at a great club - we are the European and world champions and can therefore only think in terms of victories," said the newcomer.
"Our goal is, at least, to retain the Portuguese title and we will do that if we win all our matches until the end of the SuperLiga season. I will tell you now what I will tell the players tomorrow: great teams are not just made up of great players. We have to be united and work together."
Couceiro becomes the third man to have taken charge of the UEFA Champions League holders since José Mourinho's departure last summer. First Luigi Del Neri and now Fernández have come and gone during what has been a difficult period, although Porto do still remain two points off the top and through to the last 16 of the Champions League where they meet FC Internazionale Milano later this month.
The 42-year-old Couceiro had an undistinguished playing career and is only in his third full season of working in a head coach's role. After hanging up his boots at CF Estrela da Amadora, he assumed the presidency of the Professional Football Players' Union in Portugal.
Couceiro subsequently became director of football at Sporting Clube de Portugal, from 1997-99. He then accepted the same role at Alverca FC, before becoming coach of the club for the 2002/03 campaign. After a second season as Alverca coach, he took over at newly promoted Vitória last summer and has done a creditable job at the Setubal club, who are only six points, and five places, behind Porto in the standings.
Club president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa said of his new employee: "Sooner or later we knew he would become Porto coach, although it's sooner than we expected. He has the ideal profile for this job. I've known him for several years and he has a deep knowledge of football. If I didn't think he could lead the team to the Portuguese championship I wouldn't have hired him."
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