At 37, Filipe Çelikkaya is finishing his second season at the head of Sporting B. In Liga 3, the lions were playing in the maintenance phase and were far from being at the top of the standings. Nevertheless, in an interview with Jornal Sporting and Sporting TV, Filipe Çelikkaya found more positive points than negative points this season: “You have to take into account that these are young players who are learning to reach a higher level. What I can guarantee is that the players are better when they leave the B team compared to when they enter it”.
Asked how he manages the balance between stepping onto the pitch in search of victory and realizing winning isn’t everything, the 37-year-old said: “Whoever wears the Sporting shirt has to win. Wanting to win is inherent in the symbol we wear on our chest, but we have to realize that there are times in a player’s stage of development that make it hard right away. university, I can’t skip two years and I want to know everything.
This season, Filipe Çelikkaya has used 40 players, including 17 juniors and two juniors, in a team whose average age is 19.55: “It must be said that everyone here has talent, but that does not not enough. The internal competition is important and they have to fight to see who plays the longest. This is where talent, work and all the principles of a professional team come into play, such as respect for colleagues or the way they put their face on the team. Then we have a coach in the first team, Rúben Amorim, who looks at the children in a particular way.
Several of the athletes who served the bes also played in the main team, the under 23s, the under 19s or even the under 17s. This articulation of the teams is, according to Filipe Çelikkaya, a “very big challenge” and can make the theme of team B victories something reductive: “There is a lot of delay. Interestingly, I found Mr. Aurélio Pereira has been there for a short time in the corridors and he told me that young people have to win in the first team. We cannot forget the past. Cristiano Ronaldo has never been a national champion in Sporting training and today he won everything.”
Filipe Çelikkaya reflects on the Youth Champions League debut which passed through his hands with “pride”, but recalls: “The fact that they went there and played does not mean that they will stay there. You have to take that as motivation to keep working to stay in the first team and not go back to B.”