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Mourinho ready for Porto challenge

José Mourinho has taken the reins at FC Porto after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal.

José Mourinho has been named as the new coach of FC Porto.

Three-hour meeting
Mourinho, 39 this Saturday, agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal on Tuesday night following a three-hour meeting with Porto chairman Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa. The news was confirmed by a statement to the Lisbon stock exchange.

Machado replaced
Mourinho, who was in charge of SL Benfica last season, signed the deal on Wednesday afternoon after a training session with his new players. He has replaced Octávio Machado, who was sacked on Monday following a poor run that saw Porto drop to fifth in the table, seven points behind leaders Sporting Clube de Portugal, and exit the Portuguese Cup.

New assistants
Mourinho, who has coached unfancied UD Leiria to fourth place in the table this season, said: "The most difficult thing was making an agreement with Leiria. But that matter is now resolved." He will bring his Brazilian assistant Baltemar Brito and physio Rui Faria with him to the club.

'Extreme situation'
"I'm honoured to be going back to a place where I've worked before," said Mourinho, who worked under Bobby Robson at Porto for two-and-a-half seasons from 1993, winning two league titles. "The fact that they are in fifth place worries me. It is an extreme situation - and I love this kind of situation." Porto are through to the second group stage of the UEFA Champions League and play their next European match against Real Madrid CF on 19 February.

New man at Leiria
Meanwhile, Leiria have moved quickly to fill the void left by Mourinho by appointing Mario Reis as his successor. "I'm not afraid of how good the team has been doing in the championship," said Reis, who coached Leiria from 1998 to 2000. "I know a lot of the players from the time I was here before and the club know my value."