It is fair to say that last season was very successful. However, as the quote in the title from Winston S. Churchill says, it is the courage to continue that counts. Yes, we won the treble last season with the Campeonato Brasileiro Assaí Série A, Copa Intelbras do Brasil and Copa CONMEBOL Sudamericana.
Going into the new season the targets will be to continue to push on in the Campeonato Brasileiro Assaí Série A and Copa Intelbras do Brasil. As we won both the Campeonato Brasileiro Assaí Série A and the Copa Intelbras do Brasil we have the Supercopa do Brasil to look forward to and the CONMEBOL Recopa Sudamericana due to winning the Copa CONMEBOL Sudamericana. The exciting part of this season will be the inclusion of the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores.
Going into a new season when the previous season has ended in a plethora of successes is always difficult. But, regardless of the success my approach always remains the same albeit with slight contingencies due to there being seemingly less of a pre-season in Brazil due to the bombardment of fixtures when managing a Brazilian team.
In order make improvements, throughout the whole of the season, when I could, I would ask the board to improve bot the main training facilities and the youth training facilities. Finally, after a whole season and most likely due to more money being available some investment into better training facilities is being made. Currently, the club has good training facilities and fairly good youth facilities.
With over £4m of investment being put towards the new training facilities, I look forward to being able to provide better training which, in turn, should help with player development.
To further support youth development, with the junior coaching budget currently being good, I made a request to improve that which has also been accepted by the board.
To prepare for the season, five friendlies were set up against local Brazilian teams – Resende Futebol Clube, São Raimundo Esporte Clube, Piauí Esporte Clube, Atlético Cajazeirense de Desportos and Club Atlético Nueva Chicago.
The tactical approach used next season incorporated the questionable use of asymmetrical formations. This season will be no different due to the lack of a decent left-back.
As we head into the next season the draw for the Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores became one of the most important events to ensure that next season’s plans can be formed.
The draw puts us up against some of the top teams in South America: Argentina’s Club Atlético Boca Juniors, Paraguay’s Club Olimpia and the winner of the Third Qualifying Round which ended up being Argentina’s Racing Club de Avellaneda.
Now that the draw has been made, we look ahead to the next season with the upcoming Supercopa do Brasil against Clube de Regatas do Flamengo and the hope of defending the Campeonato Paulista Sicredi Série A1.
Before the season commenced, we had some transfer business to sort. Throughout pre-season, we took two players on trial: Gustavo Carvajal and Matheus Frizzo. It was Frizzo that impress more so he was offered a contract, Carvajal didn’t impress in the singular game that he played so his trial was terminated early.
Interest in Frizzo was more than I expected, however, with Red Bull Bragantino’s success last season I didn’t think that it would take much for Frizzo to sign the contract that he was offered. Much to my dismay, Frizzo rejected the contract due to not offering him enough money and decided to sign for the fellow Brazilian side, Fortaleza Esporte Clube.
With that rejection, I turned my attention to keeping players that I thought would have attracted attention from clubs outside of South America. Lucas Evangelista has signed a new four-year contract, with the option of an additional year, which increases his domestic release clause to £42m which no specific release clause for clubs out of South America.
The Supercopa do Brasil against Clube de Regatas do Flamengo at the 72,000 capacity Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha saw a total of nearly 44,000 turn up for the spectacle between two of the best teams in Brazil. Naturally, a new formation created during the pre-season was used which seemed to hold Clube de Regatas do Flamengo back. Shadow striker, Vitinho got the game’s opening goal and only goal of the first half for Red Bull Bragantino. The second half was more conservative with Clube de Regatas do Flamengo trying to play counter-attacking football. It took until the 81st for Clube de Regatas do Flamengo to equalise through Rodrigo Caio’s almighty header in the six-yard box. Red Bull Bragantino refused to lie down and take the game into extra time as the man of the moment, and, at the moment my favourite signing for Red Bull Brangantino, Matías Arezo clinched the winner in the 86th minute to see Red Bull Bragantino crowned Supercopa do Brasil champions!
Start As We Mean To Go On
The Paulista championship is quite peculiar due to its numbers and it is the only state competition that has four divisions.
Some say that the Brazillian state championships reveal an institutional crisis in the Brazilian game. Clubs are mired in debt while 85% of the players earn little more than the minimum wage, and the soccer calendar is out-of-sync with the rest of the world. The whole process is dragged out until May when the national league gets underway. By then, the small clubs will be out of action and the majority of the big clubs burdened by the lengthy build-up to the national competition. So, in Brazil, the new season lacks the big kick-off, that moment the fans have yearned for.
Nevertheless, we start as we mean to go with the initial 12 matches of the Campeonato Paulista Sicredi Série A1