Sporting put faith in Santos

Sporting Clube de Portugal have appointed Fernando Santos, formerly of FC Porto, as their new coach.

Sporting Clube de Portugal have appointed Fernando Santos, formerly of FC Porto, as their new coach after the Romanian Laszlo Bölöni was not offered a new contract in the wake of the Lisbon club's disappointing season.

Short spell
Nicknamed 'The Engineer', as he has a degree in the subject, the 48-year-old Santos was most recently in charge of Panathinaikos FC, although he left the Greek club after just four months last October after they lost their opening three league matches and struggled past PFC Litex Lovech in the first round of the UEFA Cup.

'Fight to win'
After winning the title and the Portuguese Cup in 2001/02, Sporting could only manage a third-placed finish last season, ending the campaign 27 points behind Porto and 16 adrift of runners-up SL Benfica. However, they did qualify for the UEFA Cup and Santos is determined to achieve success on all fronts next season. "We will fight to win every competition we are in," he said.

'Strong relationship'
A man with a reputation as a disciplinarian, Santos added: "I want to have a strong relationship with all the squad - I want everyone to work together." Santos began his coaching career with GP Estoril Praia, spending six years at the club prior to another lengthy spell at CF Estrela da Amadora.

Greek move
His big break came with a move to Porto, whom he led to the Portuguese championship in his first season at the Antas stadium in 1998/99. A Portuguese Cup triumph followed in 2000 but a season later he was on his way to AEK Athens FC. He took the club to the verge of a league and cup double in his only season at the Nikos Goumas stadium.

Assistants named
They beat Olympiakos Piraeus FC in the Greek Cup final but were then pipped to the league title by the same opponents - by virtue of Olympiakos's better head-to-head record. He returned to Portugal 24 hours after leading AEK into the UEFA Champions League, but was tempted back to Greece by Panathinaikos. Santos will be assisted at Sporting by Jorge Rosário and Jasminko Velic.