The most discussed question in the sports world is: will Portuguese Rui Vitoria remain as coach of the red and white team, or is a team waiting for a new coach? Tabloids are full of headlines: “99% of the Vitoria outcome is decided,” “Vitoria leaves the post of the coach,” “Spartak arranged a send-off for Vitoria.”
Before Spartak reached the playoff of the European League, it was possible to confidently say that, yes, Spartak needed a new coach. But the victory over Legia turned everything upside down. And now the fans view Vitoria almost as a national hero. But does everyone like it?
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Or how else can you refer to the triumphant match of the red-white and the most titled Polish club in the Ekstraklasa? Alexander Selikhov’s dramatic final twist and the score of 1-0 in favour of Spartak is an outcome that no one expected. By the way, Selikhov showed himself to be an excellent goalkeeper in Leicester before, granting the team a draw, and now he pleasantly surprised the fans in Poland. Alexander is back in the game after a long break – and is already becoming the centre of attention. Vivat to Spartak and… to the coach. After all, the Red and White team is in the Europa League playoffs for the first time in history. Not only does the team deftly bypass Napoli and Leicester but also plans to play on the field with top teams. And this fact is obviously a reason to be proud.
So, let’s go back to December 9th. Less than 15 minutes passed since the final miracle of Spartak’s goalkeeper, the jubilation of the fans and the noisy celebrations of the team and the fans. Frustrated Polish fans practically left the field, and the winners’ sector shouted the coach’s name. The Portuguese himself, at that moment, stayed away and spoke to an equally active team – a team of journalists. They showered Victoria with enthusiastic cheers, congratulated and applauded with all their might. And they do have a reason: for the first time in 25 years, the team became the leader in the group of European cups. And it seems like the time to rejoice. But those who were present had a feeling that this was a “feast in time of plague.”
Every answer of the coach has a slight hint of farewell. Vitoria does not spend time talking about his impressions, his main goal is to thank those who treated the team sincerely and warmly. The coach addressed all the fans, thanked those who believed in the abilities of Spartak until the end. Fans continued to chant the coach’s name. It seemed that now they are on the same side. Together, at one and moving towards one goal – now more than ever.
The journalists noticed that the Portuguese coach had changed. If earlier he was viewed as a well-balanced person from the intellectuals, here, in Poland, the audience saw the other side of the coin. And this is not a bad thing. Perhaps it was this emotionality – remember, his reaction to the saved penalty – this ardent expression is what was lacking before. The coach fought for his team – that’s what the fans could see now. His behaviour clearly resembled Domenico Tedesco – the much-loved former Spartak coach. It really did have a positive effect on the rating of Vitoria – the fans liked the emotionality, they saw what they wanted to see for a long time.
And against the background of general jubilation and such favour of fans, news about Vitoria’s resignation constantly appears in the media. Why?
There can be only one significant reason for Rui Vitoria’s resignation from the position of the coach – the disastrous start of the season and the anti-records that the team set under his leadership.
A few months in Spartak and so many failed matches. And by the way, when the Portuguese arrived, everything was not so smooth already, but there is his fault for the failures as well.
Firstly, it is noted that this start of the season was the worst in the history of Spartak. Eight games and only two victories are not something to admire. Turning to the annals of the club, we can find that the last time the figures were so bad was ten years ago under the coaching of Valery Karpin.
Football fans just shrugged their shoulders, noticing that with the arrival of Vitoria, the red and white did not start to play better. And you can’t blame only the players for this.
The sports community had come to a common conclusion. The resignation of the coach after just a few months is not a very good thing. But after Zenit completely defeated Spartak with the score of 1:7, even those who insisted that Vitoria just needed time took the “against” side.
Another reason for the indignation was that with Vitoria, the team began to play in a way that no one expected. After his arrival at Spartak, everyone expected a completely different football, which would be radically different from the scheme that Tedesco embodied. But what they see in the end: Victoria forgets about his own principles and adheres to a hybrid scheme at matches.
It was this mood that Spartak and its fans had for three months— and then they reached the playoffs of the Europa League! Is it a miracle, or is Vitoria an excellent coach who was simply unlucky? Everyone has their own answer to this question.
Who was Rui Vitoria in his youth?
In his young years, the future coach played only in the Portuguese championships. Despite his stubborn disposition, hard work and great personal achievements, Vitoria just could not get out of the 3rd division and play in higher tournaments. After a personal tragedy in 2002 (Vitoria’s parents got into a car accident), the young Portuguese was offered to coach a club, in which he did not have such an important role before. It worked, and in 2002 he became the leader of the Vilafranquense club.
Vitoria’s start as a coach can be considered a success. After all, the former player was able to work with famous football players. Without titles, but with ambitions and experience – this is what you can describe Vitoria’s career as at Benfica. An excellent result came soon – very soon: in 2006, Vitoria became the head of the Fatima club and proved to be an amazing leader.