Rui Faria has appeared out of almost nowhere to be one of the leading candidates for the Aston Villa job.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
Jose Mourinho’s second hand man, Rui Faria, has recently left his position at Manchester United, stating that he has a ‘passion’ to manage.
Whilst some bookies have him as the new favourite ahead of the likes of Dean Smith and David Moyes – he fits more of the mould of the ‘statement’ that the Aston Villa owners have allegedly said they are going to try and make with their new appointment.
Rui Faria has been Jose Mourinho’s assistant for a number of years, following him from Inter Milan, to Real Madrid, and then later to Chelsea and Manchester United. Before those stints as an assistant manager, he was known as the fitness coach at Porto and Chelsea.
Whilst his experience as an assistant will certainly never be questioned, he has no experience as a head coach. He has however, remained loyal to Mourinho for well over a decade, and has watched his every move – both incredible and maddening, and will have his own ideas on how to manage a side.
Some media outlets were linking him to the Arsenal vacancy during the summer before Unai Emery took charge, but these links were refuted as he simply didn’t have the experience required to manage a club of Arsenal’s level.
The links to Aston Villa make a little more sense. Whilst they smell initially similar to that of the Thierry Henry links – an assistant manager or former coach looking for his first management role – Rui Faria is far more experienced.
In an interview with the Inter website back in 2009, Rui Faria discusses the level of fitness he expects from players and the amount of work they were putting into ball possession and the defensive and offensive stages of the games. A word that is mentioned is ‘intensity’, not only physical intensity, but mental intensity too.
Later, in another interview with Chelsea in his second stint at the club, he discusses the philosophy they were employing there, which once again focused heavily on intensity in defence, in attack, and with and without the ball.
Rui Faria’s experience as both a fitness coach and Mourinho’s understudy for so long could prove to be a masterstroke should he find himself in the dugout at Villa Park sometime soon – with not the 43-year-old Portuguese coach eager to impress in his first management role, but his collective talents and focuses as a coach could certainly prove to be a success with the current Aston Villa squad.
That, and if the philosophy were to remain the same with him in the hot seat, he’d add the much needed intensity in Aston Villa’s play that had been lacking under Steve Bruce.