THE BALL – Interview with Pedro Mil-Homens: the deviation with Jorge Jesus and the reasons why Rúben Amorim did not sign for Benfica (Benfica)

Pedro Mil-Homens, general manager of the Benfica team, received A BOLA in Seixal to talk about the meaning of winning the Youth League. He spoke about Jorge Jesus, Luís Filipe Vieira, expressed his confidence in Rui Costa and explained the reasons that led Rúben Amorim not to sign for Benfica.

– He was with Bruno Lage, there was a certain focus on training, then there was a big investment in hiring Jesus and in the players. How do you manage, without depending on the circumstances, according to a coach, the opportunities of young people?

– As a Benfica player and director of the Benfica Campus, I have no problem giving my opinion. In these circumstances, it is badly managed, because at that time Benfica made a tactical change, not strategic, but tactical, which I respect, but with which I did not agree. Benfica slipped. The results, unfortunately, are in sight. How is it managed? It is confidently run in the direction that is pulled upstream. And just because things went wrong at some point doesn’t mean you have to drastically change course. Benfica there, unfortunately, didn’t handle that process well. It is built through dialogue, by choosing for the technical direction of the main team people in phase with the club’s project. The club has a project and people integrate into it, with a certain freedom, but in a sense that must be maintained. Otherwise the club loses its identity and its DNA. You have to be humble, accept that it’s not going well and that’s why Benfica, meanwhile, has also changed. On our side, our expectation and our desire is to always have an interaction with the technical direction of professional football. It’s not about selling our fish or saying, “Look at our players here. None of that. It is simply a question of giving substance to the training project that the club has decided to have as the structuring pillar of its sports policy. This is why many technical teams in professional football have someone whose role is to support training, to be as close as possible to the teams moving on to professional football, which allows dialogue, the exchange of points of view, interaction, learning. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. When this dialogue does not exist, the situation is very difficult. Walls are built and walls never facilitate communication.

– What testimony can you give about Luís Filipe Vieira’s recent accusations that Rui Costa’s presence in Seixal was practically non-existent?

– I have the greatest respect for former President Luís Filipe Vieira. He was the one who invited me to come and work for Benfica Campus. Any Benfica fan will recognize the huge role he has played, especially in the youth football project. Everyone will remember him as someone who played an essential role in the creation of these facilities and in enhancing the value of the training work. Then life sometimes brings us things we don’t want, difficulties. We must respect and understand. It was an unfortunate moment for former president Luís Filipe Vieira compared to Rui Costa, whom I knew well before working at Benfica and whom I have always seen here among us, who accompanies us and whom I have always seen participate at our business meetings. Each of us may be entitled to a less happy moment. I wish the best in the world to former President Luís Filipe Vieira, as I naturally wish to President Rui Costa, in whom I have great expectations and great confidence that he will take the letter to Garcia, as they say. There is a new generation of leaders, in this case former footballers, who can contribute to a positive revival, to a healthier football, more dialogical, less tense and that this can allow, without calling into question the rivalries, that the football industry can improve.

– In June 2019, Rúben Amorim was expected to be signed by Benfica for the U23 team. Reports have even emerged that he gave a negative opinion on hiring. Want to clarify this situation?

– I am very happy to talk about this subject, for a very simple reason: many things that have been said are not true. I will say mistrust. During the game with Sporting in the quarter-finals of the Youth League, in Alcochete, I spoke to Rúben Amorim and, as a joke, I said to him: “Oh Rúben, you have no idea what I’m I suffered because of you.’ And he laughs very joyfully. It’s very easy to explain. Rúben Amorim knows that it’s true, as he is a serious man, he knows that what I’m going to say is strictly true Rúben, in this context that I explained to him earlier, of open squads, of teams in which players go up and down, told me: “I am not able to work like that, I don’t see myself working like that, I’ve never worked like that, I don’t want to be the Under-23 coach who has to give away players. I replied: ‘But Rúben, the youth football project is like that. It doesn’t work otherwise. It was the honesty of Rúben Amorim, I must emphasize, when he told me in this context: “I may be making a big mistake, but I don’t think it will work well for me.” It was as simple as that. And, probably, in support of Rúben Amorim’s career, he was right. There is nothing wrong with having a coach with a more suitable profile to work in one way or another. It depends on what the coach wants for the career at any given time. And Rúben was probably much better suited, ultimately, to work in senior professional football, in a controlled and more closed environment, and he had the success that we all recognize. Rúben had the honesty to tell me: “Under these conditions, I don’t think I can do it and I prefer not to accept it. These are issues we need to address openly and calmly. It’s not a state secret. Rúben commented on the number of players we used the previous season at the Under-23s. And I said to him: ‘But Ruben, that’s how it is.’ There are other coaches who have a better profile to work in these contexts. As simple as that. There is no drama.

– And did you suffer a lot from it?

– People often look at the foam of the materials, they don’t look at the bottom. Rúben was not the coach of Benfica at the time for this reason: he was the one who did not want to stay under the conditions I described above. Then an idea was created that not all workouts are given by coaches. It’s complete nonsense. When you have a training plan for young people between the ages of 6 and 19/20, there has to be a program. It cannot be left to coach A or B alone. I usually give this example: isn’t it normal for a language school to have a program on teaching French, English and German during the different years of schooling? In sports, it’s no different. You must also have training programs. A well-defined written program, with objectives, methods, content and evaluation criteria, in the areas of technical, tactical, psychological, physical and personal and social training. This program, which we call Formar at Benfica, constitutes, in our conception, the fundamental work that all coaches must carry out, and in addition there is, of course, the individual contribution that a certain coach makes to the program, to the process training, depending on your individuality and experience. Therefore, to say that “70% of training was Benfica and 30% coach Rúben Amorim”, or anyone else, can only be in bad faith.

Learn more about digital edition or in the print edition of A BOLA.

Leave a Comment