Jorge Costa was a winner. Eight Portuguese league titles, one Champions League crown and a UEFA Cup trophy with FC Porto made him one of the most decorated players to come out of Portugal. Yet, the titles are not something he's remembered for.
Bicho (animal) as he was nicknamed by his Porto teammates and fans alike, Costa earned a reputation for being a passionate, aggressive and physical centre-back, who left everything on the field for the teams he played for. He was a natural choice for captain for most managers he played under and was given the armband at the Estadio do Drago in 1992. Ten years later, in the 2001-02 campaign, Costa had a feud with manager Octavio Machado that saw him being loaned out to Premier League club Charlton Athletic, a decision that eventually cost Machado his job after the fans turned against the manager for alienating their skipper. Such was his popularity.
When Jose Mourinho took over the reins at FC Porto in 2002, he didn't just recall Costa from loan, but immediately reinstated him as the club's captain. In the next two years, Costa led Porto to the UEFA Cup and Champions League trophies.
Costa's managerial career has failed to be as successful as his playing days but the Portuguese has left a mark at the host of clubs he has managed in form of the fighting spirit portrayed by his teams.
"I can promise you that we'll fight in every game and give it our all," the former Braga manager was quick to establish at his unveiling ceremony as manager of Mumbai City FC.
It was this clarity in his thought and working process that convinced Mumbai City FC to make the choice. "We have interviewed many managers over the past and everyone paints a rosy picture. Jorge (Costa) didn't paint a rosy picture. He knew the league, understood our history and that reflected in the way he spoke. With Jorge, you get what you see. He expects hundred percent of everyone and we've already seen at training that the players know that. We wanted an atmosphere where everyone gives everything for the team and we knew with Jorge we will get that," Indranil Das Blah, the CEO of Mumbai City FC told reporters at the ceremony.
Costa's most successful years as a player came playing under Mourinho. And the 47-year-old admits being influenced by the 'Special One'.
"I enjoyed playing under Jose for almost two years. As captain of Porto, I was quite close to him. So yes, he has had a lot of influence on me. I credit him a lot for shaping my footballing mind," Costa revealed. However, the new Mumbai City boss was also quick to suggest that he has always wanted to have his own "individuality" as a manager.
"I like players who show a lot of heart. I like players who are a bit physical and show aggression. I want my teams to play good football, but sometimes the extra aggression and physicality is important in football. Those qualities are important and you will see my team portraying that," Costa responded hinting that his side could reflect the kind of qualities he portrayed as a player.
Further elaborating on his football philosophy, Costa was quite straight-forward in his reply. "My philosophy is three points. I want fans to go back home happy and there is no better way to do it than by winning the game," the 47-year old said.
"I will respect the players that I have in the squad and my playing style will depend on that," the Portuguese added.
The Indian players at the Mumbai club have managed to impress their new gaffer in the brief time since Costa has taken over. "Very good. I am very impressed by not just the ability of some of the Indian players but also the way they train. They may not be physically very strong, but I feel I can change that slowly," the former Porto captain said.
Mumbai City FC have never reached the final of the Indian Super League, with the club appearing in the semi-finals just once in four seasons. Costa has all the experience of guiding teams to title wins, having done it both as a player and a manager and would hope that his Mumbai City FC side is remembered for their titles and not just their belligerence on the field.
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2018 08:24 AM