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Leal: Fans believe in us

Monday, March 27, 2017



Today, March 27, Shakhtar analyst coach Tiago Leal marks his 32nd birthday. We wish the birthday man many happy returns and traditionally ask him a few questions

- Tiago, happy birthday! How is it to be the youngest mentor among Shakhtar’s coaching staff?
- I think it's an advantage. But seriously, age is not crucial. Communication and mutual understanding between the coaches is important.

- You’ve never been a professional player, how did it happen that you’ve dedicated your life to football then?
- That's true. I’ve never been a player, but I’ve always been very fond of football and as a child I dreamed of being a football man. Therefore, from the age of 20 I started working as a coach, then I graduated from a sports university. I always strive to progress, to learn something new.

- Do you yourself like to play football with your friends in your free time?
- Yes, I really enjoy it. But, unfortunately, we have little free time these days. When I lived in Portugal, I met a couple of times a week with my friends and we played futsal.

- Tell us about the analyst coach’s job: what’s interesting about it, what is its role in modern football?
- We are all helpers for Paulo. In his philosophy, the analyst is not the person who looks at the numbers. You need a different vision of football: to predict the opponents’ actions, to understand whether the players perform as Fonseca demands. I collect all the information, analyse it and then give it to the head coach. But if we still talk about the numbers, then take any match of Shakhtar and you will see: the team makes a huge number of passes, they shoot on target a lot, they score goals, and they don’t allow the opponents to do the same. The basic game-building principle of Paulo Fonseca is possession.

- How many games have you watched during your spell at Shakhtar?
- If you take all the meetings in the Ukrainian League and Cup, plus European competitions, that would make about 100. If you multiply this figure by three, because I watch at least three games of the opponents, we’ll get 300 matches (or about 1,000 hours). That’s a lot! But that’s my job - I am to pass on to Paulo the most important information about our opponents.

- What are three most necessary qualities for an analyst coach?
- Understanding the game, the ability to analyse information and passion for football.

-What would you like to achieve in your coaching career?
- We are just ordinary people. I only think about tomorrow. We are facing the task of winning the Premier League title this season. The Pitmen haven’t won the championship for two years now, being forced to play in other cities and at different stadiums. We want to prove to everyone that, despite all the difficulties, Shakhtar are able to become the champions. The fans believe in us.