Paulo Sousa has resigned as manager of Videoton FC with immediate effect citing family reasons, with a move to New York Red Bulls in the MLS almost certainly on the cards.
Former Portugal international, Sérgio Conceição is in line to take the Videoton job on a reported €20,000 a month. Conceição was the manager of SC Olhanense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga in his first managerial role before stepping down on Monday.
Conceição's playing career saw him play for a number of big European clubs including Lazio, Inter Milan and Porto.
Paulo Sousa's time in Hungary can be seen in the article below
This article was written by Tomasz Mortimer for the SfUnion on the 15th October.
Hailing Paulo Sousa as a tactical genius in England might get you locked up into a mental institute for a good few weeks. The former Juventus midfielder had a poor managerial career in British football, and spells at QPR, Swansea and Leicester were all blighted by disappointments and poor showings.
In fairness to Sousa, he never had the easiest people to work with. His time at QPR was scuppered by the billionaire owners selling Dexter Blackstock to Nottingham Forest against his knowledge – which ultimately cost the Portuguese his job.
His next step was to move to Swansea, and after guiding the Welsh club to their highest position in 27 years, Sousa left the club to join Leicester City after just one season in south Wales. But it all went from wrong once again as the former Portugal international was sacked by trigger happy Milan Mandaric after just 9 league games.
It all looked to be over for ‘Oh Paulo’, managerially. But after a year in the wilderness, he popped up at the most unlikeliest of places.
In the 2010/11 season, Videoton had just claimed their first NBI title of their history powering their way to the crown finishing 5 points ahead of the leading pack with a goal difference of +30 – 13 more than anyone else.
But even after that incredible achievement, it didn’t spare Gyorgy Mezey his job. Fans were outraged. Mezey left with dignity stating “I’m proud of what I’ve done but I couldn’t continue to realise my plans to make the club successful in Europe”, but the Vidi faithful were seething at the fact that the big name foreigner had been able to swan in after such superb season.
Things didn’t particularly start well for Sousa either. An unsurprising defeat to Sturm Graz in their first Champions League tie left the former-Juventus midfielder facing a mountain to climb to prove to the Red and Blue army that he was the man for the job.
On the whole, Europe didn’t matter. Hungarian clubs rarely venture into the group stage in Europe, so it wasn’t a massive shock. The league was the main priority, and Vidi fans were hopeful that they could hold on to their crown. Yet for Sousa, things weren’t to get better. A poor start to their NBI defence left Sousa fighting for his job come October. 5 defeats in 14 games wasn’t the form of champions, and Debrecen were along way ahead, even at such an early stage.
The Videoton directors insisted there was a plan in place, that Sousa would be given time, and he was at the helm of something special.
At the start of November, Vidi’s form picked up massively. The influx of foreign players had started to gel, and they were showing that they were a force to be reckoned with. Impressive wins over Ujpest, DVTK, Ferencvaros and a 7-0 mauling of Siofok gave Vidi a chance of making the European spots; something that Sousa had to achieve to stay in a job.
The side were starting to play some great football, and they did have some success in the less-than-coveted Liga Kupa. A 3-0 win over Kecskemet at least gave the Red & Blue something to smile about.
Vidi ended the season finishing 2nd in the table, 8 points adrift of undefeated Debrecen, but the telling story was that they only dropped points in two games after October – showing that there was plenty of promise to come from the developing side.
A relatively short summer saw more foreign players drafted in. Stopira from Feirense arrived, Filipe Oliviera came in on a permenant deal from Parma, Kaka from Hertha Berlin and Renato Neto on loan from Sporting – the standout additions.
This time, Europe was the priority. A reasonably favourable draw for the unseeded Vidi pitted them against Slovakian outfit, Slovan Bratislava in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
A 1-1 draw away in Bratislava was enough for Sousa’s men to progress on away goals, and optimism was slowly growing.
Even though the scoreline suggests that it was a tight affair, Vidi were never really in trouble. After going one behind after a sluggish start in Slovakia, Sousa’s men really turned up the gas and could easily have had more if it wasn’t for the heroics of Kovac is the Slovan goal. The second leg, Vidi sat back, dangerously holding on to their lead, but they never looked like relinquishing it for the whole 90 minutes.
Gent of Belgium were up next, and the end looked in sight. Unbelievably, though, Vidi completely wiped the floor with them. A 1-0 victory in Szekesfehervar was followed up by a remarkable 3-0 victory in Ghent. The Belgians were humbled, and Vidi’s swift counter attacking football was lauded by the Hungarian press. It was the first time that the Hungarian media and public had started to warm to Sousa.
Trabzonspor were up next, but again Sousa’s tactics were spot on. A superb 0-0 draw in Turkey was a great result, and Vidi looked unbeatable at the back. The partnership of Caniera and Paulo Vinicius was starting to blossom, and the home leg was identical. The tie went to penalties, but the Hungarians held their nerve and dumped the Turks out against all the odds.
“The players showed what they are capable of, and we managed to knock out teams over the past few weeks, which have bigger possibilities, and a larger budget than we do”, said Sousa after the game. And it’s true. Every team that Videoton beat had a significantly higher budget, and come the group stage, that margin would increase: Basel, Genk and Sousa’s old club, Sporting Lisbon waited in the wings.
Genk were first up, and Sousa was hoping for a similar result to their last outing in Belgium. But it never came. A 3-0 reverse gave Videoton a quietly reminder that they were minnows in the group for a reason.
“We were very much in the match with Genk for 70 minutes, and we created chances,” bemoaned Sousa quoting the same phrases he uses when defeated in Hungary. “The fact that we really wanted to win towards the end, led to us not concentrating as much as we should have. We made mistakes, but we also showed that we can compete at this stage. I am disappointed because of the result, as we did not deserve to lose by such a margin, but we still learned a lot from today’s game.”
The result was indeed harsh on Vidi. Naivety and inexperience cost them deer, and Sousa had to learn fast with the Sporting game just around the corner.
By the time the Portuguese side arrived in Szekesfehervar, the fanfare along with the bandwagon were already in town. It was to be the biggest club game staged in Hungary since Liverpool visited in 2009, but with the added spice of Sousa facing his club and international teammate, Sa Pinto.
“He is methodical, precise and wants to control every detail – and he is ambitious. But hopefully he will make mistakes against us,” said Sousa of Pinto.
And mistakes were made in abundance as Vidi took a shock 3-0 lead at the packed out Sostoi Stadium within 35 minutes. Paulo Vinicius opened the scoring, before the former Braga winger, Filipe Oliviera doubled their lead. Last season’s topscorer Nemanja Nikolics added a third, latching onto an awful defensive mistake and that’s the way it ended – even after a second half Sporting onslaught.
“The most important task together with my coaching staff, was to find suitable tactics and a formation. We achieved this tonight, so I am satisfied,” said Sousa post-match. “Our opponent’s manager said at the press conference last night, that we have a major strength with our stable defence, and also when we switch from defending to attack. Everything came together well in today’s match. Our style of football, and the discipline, the tight defence, from which we hit quick and dangerous counter attacks.”
Sa Pinto was sacked the following night, but for Paulo Sousa, the revolution has only just begun. Basel back at the Sostoi awaits for Vidi on the 25th October, and with the added experience and nous, another shock could be on the cards.
In the league, Vidi continue to struggle again, but the wheel has been set in motion. Massive developments have gone at the club in the past year, and the newly branded, ‘Puskas Academy’ is making great strides. Former Chelsea winger, Filipe Oliviera branded the club, the most professional he’s played for, and new facilities are on their way.
Videoton have a long-term vision, and with such a big name at the helm of a relatively small club, it can only help. A trip to Europe this season was unexpected, but it only shows the leaps that they’re making. With a bit of luck, it could be the start of something special to kickstart Hungarian football.
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