Rui Faria: an even tougher pitch to Celtic supporters than Ange Postecoglou

By Euan Davidson

June 2, 2021

So, it appears Celtic have a plan C, with Rui Faria being a potential back-up to Ange Postecoglou.

Postecoglou, already a pretty tough sell for Celtic fans, emerged as the favourite after last Friday’s shocking managerial events. The Greek-Australian has been profiled more closely over recent days, and there seems a small degree of enthusiasm about the potential hire. At the very least, Australian and Japanese football experts are telling us we’d be daft not to pursue him.

However, the Record reports that talks have taken place with Portuguese coach Rui Faria [Record]. You may know him as José Mourinho’s faithful assistant. His trophy haul working alongside Mourinho is, of course, magnificent, and he’s spent one year flying solo. Faria recently parted with Qatar Stars League club Al-Duhail, citing personal reasons for the end of his stint [Al-Duhail].

There will be some that look at his coaching pedigree and say “well, if Shaun Maloney is a candidate…”. That’s actually pretty fair. Maloney, if anything, has far less experience than Faria, who was part of several successful outfits with Mourinho.

His part in winning titles with Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan was significant. There’s a misapprehension about assistant managers, but he’ll have had a key role in training, tactics and squad building alongside his more famous senior colleague.

Rui Faria and Jose Mourinho / (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The pros and cons of a Rui Faria Celtic spell

It’s hard to know how Celtic fans will react to this. There’s a logical argument for Faria; his vast experience, his tactical nous and his big game know-how are all pretty impressive. In terms of his CV, you couldn’t really ask for a great deal more, other than something very important: work as a club’s head coach.

All managerial candidates have strengths and weaknesses. In terms of strengths, you’d assume that Faria knows a thing or two about establishing solid, well co-ordinated defences. Mourinho’s sides have tended to be firm at the back, using a non-stop ball-winner just ahead. That could suit Ismaila Soro, playing a Casemiro, Kanté or Matic-style role just in front of a back-four.

Another considerable strength will be his contacts book. Having worked at Porto, Inter, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United, he’ll have considerable connections within European football and beyond. However popular he may be with these people, though, is another argument entirely. It wasn’t just Mourinho bothering referees and the opposition, after all [Guardian].

Still, even with all that, it can’t just be me who feels a bit ‘ehh’ about the idea of Rui Faria as Celtic boss. If people have qualms about the level in Australia or Japan, then the Qatari top-flight is surely not that high on your personal ranking. While yes, he’s experienced as an assistant, he’s brand new to top flight management, and has only had one brief job.

That, and the style of play favoured by José Mourinho over the last 10 or so years is hardly in step with the attacking football Celtic crave. It just feels an unnatural fit, and a tough pitch to Hoops fans at this particular moment.

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