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Newcastle: Paulo Fonseca is obsessed with tactics, but he’s never had a big budget

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Paulo Fonseca recalls coming home frustrated despite a win earlier in the afternoon.

When asked by his wife Katerina what’s going on, winning is not enough, says Fonseca. He wants to win in style.

“We have an obligation with supporters to make a spectacle, a good show. That is the coach’s duty,” Fonseca, 48, told the Telegraph last month.

“I want to win every game, but winning alone is not enough for me. I have to be attacking and dominate the games and have an attacking midfield and show courage in the game. These are things that will die with me.’

Bruce was sacked on Wednesday and received £8 million in compensation

Paulo Fonseca (left) held talks with Newcastle as they searched for Steve Bruce’s successor (right)

Amanda Staveley (right) is considered an admirer of Fonseca and his attacking philosophy

Amanda Staveley (right) is considered an admirer of Fonseca and his attacking philosophy

After holding talks with Newcastle’s top executives via Zoom video call on Tuesday, the news of his steadfast belief in his attacking philosophy will be music to the ears of the northeastern club’s supporters.

Steve Bruce was wrapped up with a £8million compensation package on Wednesday afternoon and the hunt for his successor was immediately ramped up.

Fonseca, who has been out of work since leaving Roma in May to be replaced by Jose Mourinho, quickly shot up on the shortlist and was among the leading contenders.

If one or two chess pieces had moved in another direction, Fonseca would already be leading the Premier League, but at Tottenham, rather than Newcastle.

Among the names in line to replace Jose Mourinho, who ironically replaced him at Roma, Fonseca looked ahead to a ‘deal done’. He had started his preparation for the season, ideas were flowing to get Tottenham back to work after a stunt under Mourinho.

But the move was torpedoed just when it seemed resolved. The arrival of Juventus director Fabio Paratici cost Fonseca his chance.

He also spoke to Everton in 2018 before they chose to hire Marco Silva. Finally, he seems about to get his chance.

Paratici tends to be a pragmatic, defensive boss and Fonseca has too much pride and too much faith in his philosophy to compromise his beliefs, even if his ambition is to prove himself in England.

Fonseca, 48, is obsessed with tactics and is constantly breaking down the game in the movie room

Fonseca, 48, is obsessed with tactics and is constantly breaking down the game in the movie room

‘I have a number of principles. I wanted to coach the great teams, but I want the right project and a club where people believe in my ideas, my way of playing,” he added. The Telegraph.

When it works, his attacking philosophy can be athletic, but it’s often proven to be all-or-nothing, kamikaze, reckless in big moments.

In last season’s Europa League semi-finals, Roma led 2-1 over Old Trafford in the first leg against Manchester United, only to lose that match 6-2, raising hopes for the Italians to advance to the final was negated.

“It was an inexplicable blackout,” he said. ‘I am the main person responsible for this. I am always here to take my responsibilities and I will never shy away from that. I am the main culprit for this.’

Defending seems odd to him and while boom or bust with that sort of mantra – as Marcelo Bielsa has found out on more than one occasion with Leeds – it would certainly increase the excitement tenfold for a Newcastle fan base that had grown tired of Steve Bruce’s tactics.

Fonseca’s journey was one that saw him born and raised in Mozambique until he was 14, before a move to the small town of Setubal, near Lisbon, kick-started his professional career.

The centre-back played for Barreirense in Portugal before sealing the move to Porto, to spend his entire stint with them on loan.

He is no stranger to silverware as he won the Portuguese Cup with Braga before heading to Ukraine to take charge of Shakhtar Donetsk where he oversaw three league titles

He is no stranger to silverware as he won the Portuguese Cup with Braga before heading to Ukraine to take charge of Shakhtar Donetsk where he oversaw three league titles

But his tactical acumen grew steadily and when he moved into management with Pacos de Ferreira in 2012, it was time to cut his teeth.

A third-place finish with Pacos, securing a play-off spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds, on an incredibly modest budget – one of the lowest in the top league – elevated his position among coaches on the continent.

In 2013, he handed over the reins to national champions Porto, arriving with some unfinished business that had been overlooked in his playing days.

Starting with winning the Portuguese Super Cup was a suggested pledge, but he was less than a year away from his two-year contract, which was sacked in March with Porto third and nine points behind league-leader Benfica.

It had been nine sobering months for Fonseca and reality hit him hard – he still had a lot to learn.

A second stint at Pacos and then to Braga allowed him to more or less stay out of the limelight for the next two years before the chance to move abroad with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Armed with his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation, Fonseca was a bull’s eye in Ukraine. His reputation rose again; it was as if he started with Pacos again.

His very urgent tactics are demanding and exhausting, but they were key to guiding Shakhtar Donetsk to three Ukrainian league and cup doubles.

The Portuguese boss dressed up as a fictional character Zorro . during a press conference

The Portuguese boss dressed up as a fictional character Zorro . during a press conference

Winning in Ukraine, again on a modest budget, was one thing, but in Europe and the Champions League he could really turn heads.

Inflicting Manchester City’s first defeat in 29 games to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League certainly made people sit up – and it wasn’t just because he dressed up as Zorro for his post-match press conference. .

Fonseca promised to dress up as Zorro – the fictional masked vigilante – if Shakhtar went ahead, and they did so second behind City.

Bernard, who later left for Everton, flourished that day and Fred, who is more frustrating than impressing at United, owes much to Fonseca by raising his level to that of a £52 million player.

The model under which Fonseca has typically worked is one of buy low, sell high. Just once in his managerial career, he has spent over £25m on players and used that money to bring Leandro Spinazzola to Roma in 2019.

So no, Fonseca never got anything close to the Saudi millions who would wait for him to take charge at Newcastle. How he would do with such rich resources is a question that can only be answered in retrospect.

He’s typically frugal – it’s partly why he loved Zorro so much as a kid, explaining that this was the cheapest costume to make for a poor family.

But his managerial acumen and his most recent outpost at Roma aren’t enough to say a Newcastle appointment isn’t a bull’s eye.

Fonseca impressed Henrikh Mkhitaryan during their time together in Rome

Tuchel coached Mkhitaryan at Borussia Dortmund and the midfielder saw similarities with Fonseca

Fonseca’s management style has previously been compared to Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel (right)

Player Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have drawn similarities between Fonseca and Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who coached Mkhitaryan at Borussia Dortmund, but the Portuguese manager left with a fan base.

Roma would be his 10th managerial role in the last 14 years and when he left them seventh in Serie A, questions were raised as to whether he really had what it takes to win titles in the top five of Europe’s leagues. When he was fired, the belief in Rome was that he couldn’t.

It may have been unfair, but he oversaw a Roma team treading water without really threatening to break the top four.

It says something he will perhaps be best remembered in the Italian capital for accidentally fielding too many substitutes in a Coppa Italia clash. Roma lost the match 4-2 to Spezia but would have been eliminated anyway after signing six players – one more than the allotted five.

If Fonseca wants to be Newcastle’s man, expect goals, flair and a leaky defense… make sure he has a coach to prevent him overusing his bench when it matters most.

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