Marco Silva: Why he should prove a perfect fit for Everton
Marco Silva has already endured two frustrating seasons in the Premier League - with Hull City and, more recently, Watford - but there is a great deal of optimism to suggest that he will still be a great success at his latest English club, Everton.
His history in England
Overall, it isn't easy to assess just how the British fans and media perceive the young Portuguese manager; having started his spell in England with such class and promise, rejuvenating a Hull side in significant turmoil and languishing deep into the relegation zone, Silva masterminded something of a miracle to get Hull truly competitive in the league, battling up the table and coming close to even pulling off one of the most stunning survival battles the Premier League has ever seen.
Sadly it just wasn't to be; despite picking up on average more than one point a game - 21 points in 18 league outings to be more precise, typically enough to survive Premier League relegation - he was given just too much to do to lead his Tigers to safety, with Hull under the previous manager, Mike Phelan, picking up just 13 points from 20 league matches, far from sufficient for any side to avoid relegation.
The fickle ways of football fans in the modern era, it could be argued, meant that Marco Silva came in for criticism virtually before he had even been confirmed as Hull City's manager. Suggestions of lack of experience in the Premier League predictably the source of disapproval from fans and pundits alike, with many confused as to why a tried and tested manager wasn't brought in instead.
However, it didn't take long for Silva to silence his doubters. With his tactical astuteness and excellent man-management coming to the fore, Hull rose up the table quickly and became competitive in a division that for so long looked a step too far for them. With most no longer sceptical about his managerial pedigree and capabilities, people instead became admirers of the fresh, young coach, a swift and dramatic change in opinion in a short space of time.
But as fast as Silva garnered the respect of the English football community, it seemed he could just as easily lose it. With Hull inevitably relegated, a failure permanently stained on his otherwise dazzling managerial record, the masses seemed to forget just how competitive he made the side languishing deep into relegation - and ownership - trouble, and went back to questioning his coaching ability.
In reality, however, it is difficult to think of any manager in the world that would have, with any sort of certainty, been able to save Hull from relegation, and his admirable attempt to save the club - making them wholly competitive in the process - added to his courage for even taking such a risky job in the first place, should really be earning him significant praise rather than the hint of scepticism he seems to be getting a year on, with some forgetting the details surrounding the campaign and failing to see beyond the relegation to his name.
Nevertheless, Watford were impressed enough by his Premier League showing with Hull to give him an immediate chance for redemption, bringing him in to the club at the start of last season as they aimed to remain top-flight perennials.
And the start to his tenure was more than sufficient to vindicate Watford's decision to give Silva the second opportunity he fully deserved. After losing just one of his opening 8 games, Silva had Watford sitting in the Champions League places and, even after then suffering three losses on the bounce, still had his side just two points off 5th thirteen games in. It was a phenomenal start for his side, once again proving his incredible managerial prowess, taking a side who finished 17th last season to beginning to dream of a place in Europe next season.
But things change quickly in football and, after having his head turned by the interest shown for him from Everton, he saw his side's form slipped drastically, hitting a dreadful spell of form that saw Watford win just a single match in the next 12 league outings.
With such a capitulation in results at Vicarage Road, Marco Silva's reign at the club was, within a flash, cut very short indeed, another stint in the Premier League that lasted no longer than six months.
While the results on the pitch became far from good enough, it should be noted that Watford still maintained a place in the top half of the table when he was removed from his position in January 2018, owing a great deal to his remarkable early season form that saw Watford sitting high up the table for the entirety of the first half of the campaign.
It is also worth pointing out that Silva was without no fewer than a dozen senior players due to injury as his team underwent their period of atrocious form, which was the worst injury situation of all club's in England's top flight.
Therefore, while his reign at Watford, like at Hull, ultimately ended in significant disappointment, when put into perspective, Marco Silva actually more than did enough to show the English audience his boundless ability when it comes to football management, and his man-management and entertaining brand of football should be earning praise, rather than condemnation, from the British crowd, with certain vocal corners of the footballing world seemingly keen to point out his two previous 'failed' stints in the Premier League in an attempt to undermine the talented Portuguese coach.
However, the fact that it is the club that had a vested interest in him - and ultimately indirectly caused his early demise at Watford - that has now brought him in as manager also bodes well for Everton, who will feel that Marco Silva is fully motivated to lead the club he felt he couldn't deny wanting to join when already contracted to their Premier League rivals, and will also be hoping that he has learnt from his Watford mistakes, ensuring he is fully dedicated to the job at hand at Goodison Park and will not be tempted into jumping ship early as he did only last season.
If further convincing is still required to show why Marco Silva is an ideal candidate to take over at Everton, his record before he came to England is also most certainly worth analysing.
Starting his managerial career at the same place his playing career came to an end, Silva was appointed manager of Estoril aged just 33 and coaching seemed to come naturally to the former right back, who has been praised by former players for his excellent man-management and motivational ability. And looking at his record at Estoril, it is easy to see why.
Taking over the club when they were in the second flight of Portuguese football, Silva led Estoril to promotion on the first attempt, taking the club to Portugal's highest division for the first time in seven years and winning manager of the year as a result, all while still in his early thirties.
If his first season wasn't impressive enough, Silva then continued to perform miracles with the Canaries, leading the club to an incredible 5th place finish in his debut season as a top-flight manager, the second highest finish in the club's entire 79-year history, with it leading the club to the Europa League for the first time ever. A season of incredible success, and proving undoubtedly that Silva was most certainly destined to go on to even bigger and better things.
With Estoril therefore competing on additional fronts in his third - and final - season with the club, with Europa League qualification expected to have a significant impact on the club's league prospects, a less than spectacular campaign was anticipated as a result, with the additional travel and game time thought to be a major disadvantage for the Primeira Liga outfit.
However, Silva instead somehow masterminded yet another managerial masterclass, leading Estoril not only to their joint ever highest finish in the league, going one better than the previous season and taking the Portuguese side to fourth in the table, but also their highest top flight points total in the history of the club, a simply astonishing achievement for a club not expected to be anywhere near the top end of the table.
Silva's second season heroics also meant that he led Estoril to the Europa League for the second time; the only manager to ever lead Estoril into European competition, and he did it on two separate occasions.
His achievements certainly did not go unnoticed, and the following season he earned a move to one of the members of Portugal's traditional 'Big Three', jumping across to Sporting CP in 2014, entrusted with the task of bringing the league title back to the green side of Lisbon for the first time in over a decade.
And while he was unable to ultimately deliver Primeira Liga success, Silva did still have a very respectable season with Sporting, leading the club to Portuguese Cup glory, marking the club's first piece of silverware in 7 years, as well as a third place finish in the league. Indeed, the cause of Silva's sacking was not for poor form or performance, but officially because he did not wear the correct attire for a cup match against FC Vizela...
With his time at Sporting ending after just a season, he got the chance to re-enter management within a month, joining Greek giants Olympiakos in the summer of 2015.
While only staying with Olympiakos for a single season, his time in Greece was an undoubted success. Not only did he succeed in delivering the club their 43rd Superleague title in history, he did so in unrivalled style, winning 28 of the 30 league games played and losing just one in the process, finishing on 85 points, an incredible 30 points clear of nearest rivals Panathinaikos.
Silva also oversaw his side make it all the way to the Greek Cup Final, while also leading them to a highly impressive campaign in the Champions League despite being handed an incredibly difficult group containing two European heavyweights in Bayern Munich and Arsenal. Despite being underdogs, Olympiakos, under the guidance of Marco Silva, pushed Arsenal all the way, beating the English club 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium and only unable to make the next knockout round by virtue of goal difference, having matched Arsenal's total of 9 points in the group stage.
Olympiakos proved to be his last club before he took the plunge into English football meaning that, before he had even reached his fortieth birthday, he had already won the Greek Superleague, the Portuguese Cup and the Segunda Liga, while also guiding Estoril to their highest league finish ever and the Europa League on two separate occasions, and Olympiakos to a record-breaking 11 consecutive wins in the league as they finished with a record-breaking 85 points in a 30 game season.
All signs point to a positive campaign
Fair to say, therefore, that Silva has arguably, contrary to what some may believe, had considerable success at every club he has been at - including at Watford (pre-Everton interest) and Hull.
With the patience Everton are renowned for showing, added to the fact that they have supported the manager with considerable financial backing and are suitably ambitious to match the dreams of Silva himself, this should prove to be a perfect match for all parties concerned, with fans also set to witness far more entertaining football than they were exposed to last season, while also likely to witness their club have a great deal of success in the upcoming season under the stewardship of one of Europe's finest young managers.