Manuel Veth –
It was another extraordinary week at TSV 1860 Munich, in that the club announced the signing of the Portuguese coach Vítor Pereira on Sunday night. In many ways the signing has been an open secret for the last two weeks and, in fact, we reported about the possible impact of his signing at the club on December 7.
In many ways, the arrival of Pereira at 1860 marks a watershed moment for the Bundesliga 2. Pereira, who was fired by the Turkish club Fenerbahçe this summer, was, after all, a sought after coach. He had offers to take over Inter Milan, FC Nantes, and a top team in England but, instead, is now taking over the rather difficult position at 1860 Munich.
Although the team seemed greatly improved in the last few weeks, 1860 remains in the bottom half of the table on 14th spot with just 16 points out of 17 matches. Hence, Pereira’s first task at 1860 will be to stabilize the squad, and to move the club out of the relegation battle.
TSV 1860 Munich has not exactly been an attractive proposition for a new coach
Not exactly the most attractive proposition for a coach who has trained the likes of Porto, Olympiacos, and Fenerbahçe in recent years. Pereira, however, was adamant at the press conference that he believes in the project that was presented to him by investor Hasan Ismaik:
“I made this decision, because 1860 is a great opportunity. This club needs to be among the big teams in Germany. It is an enormous task, but I want to lead 1860 back into the Bundesliga. We have one and a half years to make it happen. I want to thank Mister Ismaik, and Mister [Peter] Cassalette [president of the club] for their trust in me. We will give our best, and we will get the club to where it belongs. I will not be happy until we are promoted to the Bundesliga.”
Whether the project will work, however, will also depend on investor Ismaik. While 1860 invested €6.6 million in new players over the summer, an astronomical sum for most Bundesliga 2 sides, the squad still needs significant improvement if 1860 want to challenge for a top two spot in the league.
In the press conference, Pereira stated that new signings will be necessary: “We will now take our time to analyse the players. From the analysis we will determine what kind of players we have. And based on the analysis we will make the necessary decisions, to increase the level of the squad.”
At the same time, Pereira was adamant that he would not make hasty decisions. “I want to emphasize that we have to be organized. We have to be clearheaded and make good decisions.”
The club will be off to a training camp in Portugal during the winter break where he wants to build a squad for the second half of the season. “I like to play aggressive football, but also with technical elements. We will build a strong team. Furthermore, I have been told that I can bring in new players.”
Vítor Pereira will be given the freedom to sign new players
There is little doubt that Vítor Pereira will be given the freedom to sign new players. Hasan Ismaik, who is also financing the €3 million a year salary of the new head coach, has promised investments of €100 million at the club, with the vast majority going towards player transfers.
When speaking in front of sponsors and fans at the 1860 Christmas party at the Allianz Arena in Fröttmaning, Hasan Ismaik promised: “The year 2017 will be the year of change.” He also promised that he was guaranteed a budget of €50 to €100 million in the New Year in order that the club be able to bring in the necessary players to ensure success. Ismaik also wrote on Facebook that he believes that Pereira is the right man to “awake 1860 from its deep sleep.”
Some questions remain, however. Vítor Pereira speaks no German, and has never worked in a lower division before. Pereira himself told the media: “I want to learn German as quickly as possible, and know the language by the time we are celebrating the Oktoberfest nest season. But in the meantime I see no problems when it comes to communicating with the team. I have worked in Turkey and in Greece—and there were never any problems.”
This leaves the question as to whether the coach can get used to the physically demanding Bundesliga 2. His record has definitely been impressive in his previous position with an average point per game record of 2.27 at Porto, 2.22 at Olympiacos, and 2.07 at Fenerbahçe. He has won 58.4% of his games, losing 24.4%, and tying 17.2%.
Vítor Pereira will bring a taste of Pep Guardiola to 1860
In the past, he has primarily used the 4-2-3-1 formation, and he is considered a coach with a strong personality, who is not afraid to speak his mind. In fact, his strong personality could be both his biggest asset and weakness at his new club. Fans still pay reverence to legendary 1860 coach Werner Lorant.
Lorant, who coached the club from 1992 to 2001, was known for his emotional explosions at the side of the pitch. The coach would frequently clash with referees, opponents, and his own leaders. His mantra was, “Those who are afraid will lose.”
Pereira seems to fall into a similar category, as can be attested from a Youtube video from a press conference at his old club Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia. It will therefore be interesting to see how Ismaik will handle his coach’s outspoken manner when things become heated, as they always do at 1860
At the same time Pereira is also considered one of the most tactically astute coaches in the game. Pereira is one of the coaches who have the ear of current Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola. It was Pereira who advised Guardiola after Bayern’s hefty 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League semi-final.
Fussballstadt spoke to the Portuguese journalist Tiago Estêvão who described Pereira as “a true tactitian, who understands the game like only a few do, who thinks, talks and breaths football 100% of the time. That said, and unlike many of these new tactian focused managers, he’s extremely strong in the locker room as well. He’s passionate and has some of the most fiery team talks. He dealt with some fierce fan bases in Turkey and in Porto and will for sure be really connected to the 1860 faithful. The only thing that somewhat worries me is his lack of capacity when it comes to languages, he’s known for his iconicly poor english. Either way, football is a world language and I believe he is the man to take 1860 München into the Bundesliga again.
Vítor Pereira has shown that he is not afraid to be close to the fans
This last part will be music to the ears of 1860 fans, who are quick to evoke the working class roots of the club, and to chant “Wir wollen euch kämpfen sehen (we want to see you fight for the club).” In fact, Pereira seems to have already understood the down-to-earth roots of the club.
On his first day as 1860 coach, Pereira was invited to join several fans at a lunch party sponsored by the club. Fans were offered free beer and food, and got to meet Pereira, who seemed to have no problem fitting in with the fans, and spent agreat deal of time talking to supporters, signing autographs, and taking selfies.
Of course, in one way or another, we have seen all this before, and it is wise to remain sceptical, as Vítor Pereira will now face the truly difficult task of turning 1860 into a successful club. With the winter transfer window opening on January 1, and the team off to Portugal on January 4, 1860 will surely remain in the headlines.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, writer for Bundesliga.com, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.