Of course the Pro League is basically over. Well it is. Other than the playoff just call it. But this is mainly about one thing this time and that is Sa Pinto at Standard. He went from laughing stock to laughing loudest. One massive ball of unpredictability, energy, enthusiasm and passion. I thought it and you probably thought he’d get sacked during the winter break. His touchline antics were theatrical and unnecessary, yet I couldn’t dislike him. Almost a pantomime villain to others and even though I didn’t like that side to him, I felt he wasn’t showing the discipline to do well at a club like Standard. Something clicked and Les Rouches did amazingly well in 2018.
It’s weird how Portuguese managers are THE best in the world tactically. Mourinho, Jardim, Villas Boas (was) and they won the Euros through tactics rather than quality, and with Ronaldo cheer leading. However, those three are students of the game and Sa Pinto played, maybe looking at coaching from a different angle to the previously mentioned. I think the good thing he did was coached, but then again, didn’t coach if that makes sense. I mean you can’t coach Carcela because he is a top player. Quality is just within them. Same for Edmilson and Mpoku. But you’d think he may have helped Emond who is a striker. It helps when you have a beast in Luyindama at the back and Ochoa. There is a superb crop of quality players in that team. Players who could get into any team in Belgium. Surely it’d be harder to not succeed, which was nearly the case.
After only gaining 26 points in the first half of the season, it could’ve been calamitous. But then collecting 39 points, including the playoffs, that’s an unbelievable feat. Add to that a Croky Cup win and second in the league. His either left whilst his stock is high to get another job, or because these Michel Preud’homme rumours were hurting. It’s almost turned out so well for the Portuguese. I was thinking earlier today about why hasn’t Preud’homme moved on elsewhere? I’ve asked a few times for why Belgian managers don’t crack on elsewhere in the bigger leagues, and Preud’homme is a big name in goal and in the dugout. Why hasn’t he gone onto other things, despite the Rangers/Bordeaux/Saudi Arabia rumours? Why leave the now best team in Belgium, have a sabbatical and then join the second best team (positionally)?
When all said and done, you will know more than I. Management is almost a freelance job. The more successful you are, the more work you’ll get. If you’re lucky you’ll get plenty of offers, and if not you’ll have to rebuild your reputation. Standard turned out to be a rocky relationship, to a match made in heaven going by results. Good luck Ricardo. No doubt you’d be flinging yourself to the floor in Turkey or Greece or wherever you’ll end up.