After Paulo Fonseca leaves, Shakhtar Donetsk turn to another Portuguese manager
After seeing highly-regarded Portuguese manager Paulo Fonseca move to AS Roma, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk have appointed another Portuguese coach to lead the side.
Fonseca, former manager of Braga and Porto, had a very successful time in Ukraine with Shakhtar, able to lift both the Ukrainian Premier League title and the Ukrainian Cup in each of his three years in charge of the club.
He also won both the Ukrainian Super Cup and the Ukrainian Premier League manager of the year in 2017, giving him a total of 7 accolades in his three years at the club.
Additionally, he led Shakhtar to the Champions League round of 16 last season, making it out of a tough group containing both Manchester City and Napoli, narrowly losing in the first knockout round to Roma, going out on away goals.
With Fonseca departing, Shakhtar were quick to pick his replacement - and showed the high regard they held for Paulo Fonseca by going down the same route again and picking another Portuguese manager from the Primeira Liga.
This time they opted for Guimaraes boss Luis Castro as the man to succeed Paulo Fonseca, who English Championship club Reading were trying to bring to the club before they finally settled on Jose Gomes.
Vitoria Guimaraes finished as high as you would probably expect last season, finishing as “Best of the Rest” behind the big 4 of Benfica, Porto, Sporting and Braga.
But there was something distinctly underwhelming about their season as a whole. With a talented squad at his disposal containing the likes of Toze, Davidson, Andre Andre and co, a lot was anticipated from this team to cruise to a 5th place finish - and perhaps even start to push the likes of Braga and Sporting a little closer for a top 4 spot.
That, though, didn’t really happen and, up until the last gameweek, it was actually the highly unfancied Moreirense that were occupying that 5th place position. It was only a last-day win over Moreirense that gave Guimaraes their place as best of the rest, finishing above their opponents in the standings only by virtue of head-to-head record.
The 52 points they mustered over the course of the season was respectable although also certainly nothing to get excited about, and indeed they ended up 15 points behind 4th-placed Braga in the league - compare that to 12th placed Portimonense, who only had 12 point fewer than Guimaraes.
There were some great days for the fans to remember; that epic comeback from 2-0 to beat Porto 3-2 away form home on the third gameweek, as well as earning a draw against Porto in the reverse fixture. But ultimately, it was nothing more than a decent season which failed to exceed any expectations for Luis Castro and his side.