100 days have passed since Fernando Santos took over the national soccer team of Greece. Greek media define the work of the Portuguese as a successful and promising start. Something that is not easy at all, having in mind the serious legacy of his predecessor Otto Rehhagel. Although some criticize him that the style of play he requires is more defensive than offensive, Santos turned out to be a man capable of great deeds. It appears that one of the most important developments in the team has started – building trust between the coach and the players.
Thing were different in the beginning. Players were leaving the team without saying him even a word. They said later before the media that nothing has changed in the team. Santos, in turn, was offended because of the attitude. To create a team after the ‘epoch’ of Rehhagel is a real challenge ...
The Portuguese took Charisteas, Moras, Patsatzoglou and Kapetanos out of the national team. He tried to impose the 4-4-2 system in rhomb, which would fit the Greek team the best in his opinion. His debut with this system in the match with Serbia was successful, but...difficult too. It was difficult because the national team was definitely not able to adapt to the new system. A fact that was apparent during the first match when Santos lost an important player. Sotiris Kyrgiakos put an end to his playing in the national team. Ioannis Amanatidis left the team after him too.
The national team had a strong slap during the match with Georgia. They mixed up and lost two valuable points. Santos was forced to set aside the 4-4-2 system during the match with Croatia. The match ended in a draw and Greece managed to gain points. The team was not calm again. Fanis Gekas left, the goalkeeper Tzorvas and the player Seitaridis were about to do the same and rumours of a clash with Katsouranis made the situation even more severe. It seemed to be the turning point of Santos’ work. He left his disappointment aside and got down to work.
He started to work in the 4-3-3 system and to mentally ‘treat’ the players. The first positive results were not late. The players demonstrated in the match with Latvia virtues showing that the spirit of football was born in them again. The scheme was already purely offensive, with multiple goal positions and good circulation of the ball. The match with Israel is another proof of the renewed spirit on the field. The victory was the fruit of desire and belief of the national team.
So, although early months were not easy for Santos, with hard work and perseverance the Portuguese managed to support the spirit of his players and make them believe that their mission on the field is to win. After two consecutive wins, he gained the confidence of his team, one of the most important components in the relationship between coach and players. Now it is time the Greek fans, whose trust is not easily won, to accept Santos.