Santos Former Portugal boss named as Poland coach
On Tuesday, Fernando Santos, who led the Portuguese national team until a month ago, was named the next manager of Poland.
“From today, I am Polish. I am one of you,” Santos declared at the official ceremony in Warsaw.
“It is an honour to continue my work as a trainer here,” he added.
“I am convinced that we will work hard to give the Poles a lot of joy. I am sure that we will achieve success,” Santos told journalists at the press conference called to announce the nomination.
Santos, 68, replaces Czeslaw Michniewicz, who was fired last month after Qatar’s World Cup team was eliminated in the round of 16.
With victories over Saudi Arabia, draws with Mexico, and losses to eventual group winners Argentina, Poland came in second.
For the first time in 36 years, they were eliminated after a routine 3-1 loss against eventual runners-up France.
Lisbon-born Following Portugal’s shocking World Cup quarterfinal loss to Morocco in December, Santos resigned as coach of the team.
Santos, who took over as Portugal’s head coach in September 2014, led his team to its first major victory at Euro 2016 and then the 2019 Nations League.
However, his time in charge also saw last-16 exits at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.
Santos also coached the Greece national team from 2010-2014.
“The choice was difficult but we have chosen the best,” said Cezary Kulesza, head of the Polish football federation.
“Our first objective is to qualify for the European Championship” which will take place in Germany in 2024, he added.
When he first revealed the new coach’s name, Kulesza misspoke, calling him “Felipe” instead of Fernando, drawing ridicule from local media.
Santos stated that winning was his main priority in one of his first talks with Polish media for the Interia news website.
“Neither a painting nor Chopin’s music are football. It is considerably easier to win if you score and don’t let up any goals. That’s it.
Santos declared that he intended to settle in Warsaw and get to know the group.
I don’t want to be the kind of guy you only see at games and on special occasions, he declared.
“I want to meet the Polish football community and I want them to meet me.”