Is Carlos Queiroz the Right Man for the Job?

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Is Carlos Queiroz the Right Man for the Job?

After beating Malta 4-0, Portugal put its qualification for the next World Cup at risk by losing at home against Denmark 3-2, in what was a great football match for the neutral (and Danish) fans.

This all came after leading the score twice, squandering four open-goal chances, and conceding two of the three goals in the last five minutes of the match.

The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo is not really a justification for the defeat, as Portugal didn't lose for a lack quality amongst its ranks. The same can't be said about the choice for the new national coach, Carlos Queiroz. 

Wednesday's defeat was Portugal's first home defeat in a qualifying match in 15 years, and in 1993 the national coach was... Carlos Queiroz. 

Carlos Queiroz became known to the Portuguese after leading the Under-21 national side to two consecutive World Cup titles, in 1989 and 1991. It was the beginning of the Golden Generation, with the likes of João Pinto, Rui Costa, Luís Figo, Fernando Couto, Vitor Baía and Paulo Sousa showing their talent to world for the first time.

Queiroz was then upgraded to the senior team in order to lead the talents that he had "created" to the World Cup. He failed miserably after draws against Scotland, Norway, and Switzerland and two defeats against Italy.

Portugal wouldn't go to the US and Queiroz moved on, finding a new job at Sporting, where he had a very talented side waiting for him. With players such as Figo, Paulo Sousa, and Balakov, Sporting had all the odds in its favour to win the Portuguese title. Again, Queiroz failed, only managing to win a Portuguese Cup, the following year. 

After short spells in the US, Japan, UAE, and South Africa (where he managed to lose against Lesotho), he finally arrived in 2002 at Manchester United as an assistant coach, helping the Red Devils claiming the Premier League title.

In 2003 Real Madrid called and Queiroz accepted the challenge. With only a Supercup to show, despite having a team full of stars, he would be sacked in 2004, and returned to Manchester.

Since then he stayed in Manchester, helping the Red Devils to win several titles, including last year's Premier League and Champions League. Until this July. After Luiz Felipe Scolari's departure, the Portuguese FA board saw Queiroz as the right man for the job, and Queiroz couldn't say no.

His understanding of the basics of the game and his capacity to structure and organise youth development programmes are among the best in the world. The fact that Alex Ferguson didn't want to let him go shows how important he was for Manchester United.

The same can't be said of his coaching record. As a manager he has a very poor record indeed, failing to win when presented with great squads to coach. He doesn't have the communication skills an international manager needs to have in order to deal with the press, and his teams, despite playing attractive football, clearly miss in terms of effort, dedication and concentration.

Which leads us to conclusion that he doesn't have the capacity to build a winning mentality in his teams.

Managing a national side, particularly one with the responsibility to win, where players are only together for less than a week every two months or so, is not so much about adopting the right practice methods or even tactics, but about making the players focus, and give everything they have for their national side.

This is the case even if some of them are playing together for the first time, or others are told by their clubs to be careful with injuries.

It is not a job for any manager; it is not a job for Carlos Queiroz.   

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