Manager Profile – Fernando Santos


Fernando Santos, born in Lisboa, Portugal on 10/10/1954. Was a professional player starting his career in SL Benfica, and representing Marítimo and Estoril Praia.

Is know for his strong religious belief, family connected and charismatic speeches.

Started is coaching career in Estoril Praia, right after his retirement as a player. With several years in the club, left after an invite of Estrela da Amadora. In between maintained his work as an Engineer in one of the biggest hotels in Lisbon, being called since then as “The Engineer” in sports media.

Estrela da Amadora was his door for one of his best records – coaching the “big three” in Portugal. In 1998 was named coach of FC Porto, and conquered one of the club’s biggest achievements – the Penta Championship. Being called since then as the “Penta’s Engineer”.

The 2000’s decade was the start of his connection to Greece, with passages in AEK Athens, PAOK and Greek National team, intercalated with Sporting CP and SL Benfica.

In 2014 left Greece after Brazil World Cup and embrace his biggest project – conquer a title for his nation, Portugal.


Players often talk about Fernando Santos as a Manager who can create a familiar environment and communicate in a very simple manner with the people around him.

The way he deal with the expectations on Cristiano Ronaldo, drawing the attentions towards him to take pressure of his biggest star. It’s maybe the mark of the Engineer in this road that lead to the European Title.

Through the competition we saw Fernando Santos state that he and his team wanted to win above all things. He had one goal – bring the title. The approach to every game was intended to overstep his opponent, with a pragmatic and efficient approach.

A clinical way of taking advantage of the flaws in the opponents was related with a hard-working team, focused on the team spirit and the task they had game-by-game.

Tactical System

Although Fernando Santos opted for a 1-4-4-2 formation, we can see some tactical changes during the game.

The wingers João Mário and Renato Sanches are Midfielders and play in the lines with focus on the center. This creates the ability of the team to be closer on the defensive process, something really important in this Euro conquest.

As an alternative, the 1-4-1-3-2 was also used specially with Moutinho in the back of Nani and Ronaldo.

The dynamic of the midfielders was crucial for Fernando Santos. With the support of Guerreiro and Cédric to give the width that João Mário and Renato struggle to give due to their profile. This reveals the pragmatic line of though that identifies Fernando Santos as one of the biggest stars of Euro.