Rui Vitoria: “I am motivated by winning titles; everything else is an accessory”
Today, our new manager Rui Vitoria appeared in front of the Russian press for the first time. After getting acquainted with our stadium and having a meeting with his staff, Vitoria answered a plethora of questions about his impending tenure in Moscow. The transcript of the press conference is given below:

When did Spartak first contact you, and how did the negotiations go?
(In Russian) I am very happy to be the coach of Spartak!

For now, I will limit myself to one sentence in Russian, but I promise to learn the language soon. At the beginning of our conversation, a very good impression of this club was formed in my eyes. The negotiations were swift. My main goal is to win titles, and from initial talks it was clear that Spartak would provide a conducive environment for the same.

What have you thought of your team so far? About their strengths and weaknesses?
I have a pretty complete impression of the team and the Russian championship. It is very good that our team has a winning spirit, but there are aspects that we would like to improve. I don’t want to go into details because I need to talk to my players first. In any case, we want to keep our best qualities, and improve on them.

Your teams have typically played a four-defender system, but some believe that Spartak do not have the required manpower for this. How will you deal with this?
I’ve worked according to many different schemes, this is not a problem. In general, today the schemes aren’t as important as the principles of the game.

Spartak’s centenary is fast approaching. Is the club capable of breaking Zenit’s hegemony by the time this special occasion comes around?
Of course, we have been sent here precisely to win the league. There is a strong league in Russia with many good teams, but we believe that we’ll be able to create a winning team.

You have to work under enormous pressure here, and that can eat up any coach. Are you ready for such draining conditions?
Firstly, I am very happy that there are so many journalists here today. This proves that there is great interest in Spartak, which is unsurprising.

Working under pressure is part of the job. I have played over 50 Champions League matches in Asia and Europe. I’ve gotten into many difficult situations, but I’ve gotten out of them with dignity on each occasion.

For example, when I arrived at Benfica, I was quite popular. However, the start of my career in Lisbon was not easy, we were seven points behind the league leaders. In the end, we finished first and broke the record for most points scored in Portugal.

I’m a fairly young but experienced coach. In the meantime, I need to talk less and work more.

Will the fans see defensive, compact, perhaps boring football?
I like fast football, but I prefer players that have automatic thinking; players that are smart. I need a courageous, fearless and stable team. You need character to fight for the championship. I love aggressive defence, compactness and the ability to be direct in transitions. I never park a bus in my penalty area. From the first day we will work with the ball. Spartak must have an identity that is easily recognisable. Let the opponents immediately understand what awaits them.

How do you react to criticism that has already come your way?
It’s normal, it’s common. It happens in big clubs. All I can say is that I have won numerous titles, set records and developed players that have played for some of the best national teams in the world. I have worked on different continents, and have an experienced staff.

We are well prepared to start working here. I know all the players, I know about their families, children, cars, I know how long it takes for them to get to training.

Why did you decide to come to Russia?
I was attracted by the opportunity to fight for titles. Me and my staff have won some kind of trophy almost every season. I liked the atmosphere and people, I liked the project. In general, I am very interested in Russia and Russian culture. The main moti
vation is to come to a team that is strong, stable and capable of winning.

You said that you’ve studied all Spartak players well. How many additions does the team need?
I don’t want to answer this question, this is the club’s internal matter. I can say that the club has a fairly good and strong team. So far, I’ve only seen my players on video, but I want to see their capabilities live as soon as possible.

How do you plan on interacting with the sports department when it comes to recruiting newcomers?
There is only one way, and that is through complete mutual understanding between myself and the scouting team. Decisions will not be made in the favour of Rui Vitoria or Dmitry Popov, but in the club’s favour.

What happened during your second season in Saudi Arabia, when you had to leave Al-Nassr?
When we came to the club, we immediately won the title. Although before that, we had not won for a long time. After that, difficulties started to creep in. 26 people fell ill with COVID, there were issues with salary payments, there was a change in leadership, and a very tight calendar.

Initially, we had gone to Saudi Arabia because we wanted to get to know the Middle East, the culture of the country, and the football that’s played there. Different experiences can only help your skills and knowledge.

How do you feel about referees and refereeing controversies?
If I see clear refereeing injustices, I will not remain silent. I am a honest and straightforward person. We want to create a team that everyone will be fearful of, but one that everybody will want to watch.

Would you like to play against Benfica in the Champions League?
The main things is to prepare for each game in the competition and win it. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is.

When Jose Mourinho led Chelsea, he called himself ‘The Special One.’ What can we call you?
Jose is an outstanding coach. He opened the door for Portuguese managers to get opportunities abroad. As for me, I have taken charge of a ship called Spartak, I am not special. However for as long as I’m here, consider me the club’s biggest fan!
Date: 14 June 2021, 18:30
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