New Poland coach Fernando Santos: ‘From today I am a Pole’

Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

“It was a difficult choice, but we chose the best possible coach”, stressed the president of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, introducing Fernando Santos as the new coach of the Polish national team.

Fernando Santos was officially unveiled as Polish national team coach on Tuesday, emphasising that it is an honour for him to continue his coaching career in Poland.

“From today I am a Pole, I am one of you,” he announced.

“It's an honour because we are talking about a great country. Poland is a great country with an extremely rich history and culture,” the 68-year-old Portuguese said.

“Happiness does not fall from the sky, you have to earn it. But I'm sure we will achieve a great deal for the Polish national team and all Poles,” he added.

“Poland has very good footballers, among the world's best,” he said.

The Portuguese coach added that his first goal will be to make it to the 2024 European Championships.

“For me it's very important in Poland to do what I did in the past - I want to leave a legacy here, something for the future. The world of soccer is changing, so I want to lay the foundation for a new future for the national team,” stated the new coach.

He also mentioned that he has no plans for a revolution, but to work hard and improve everything that has been there so far.

"It's important to have a co-worker who is Polish. In the initial phase it's very important - he knows the mentality, the personality better, and can convey my ideas better," he stressed.

Santos said that he has already spoken with Łukasz Piszczek and Tomasz Kaczmarek, who are candidates for his assistants, in Poland.

When asked about his goals Santos replied that he “wants to win everything”.

"I know that this is not always possible, because we have opponents on the other side. That's why it's very important to work out these rivals. I have a man on my staff for this task,” he added.

The Portuguese stated that he will not try to carry out a generational replacement in the team at any cost.

“Those who know my career know that I have introduced many young players to my teams, but it is not age that is most important to me. Quality is the basis. Technique, tactics, mentality,” he stressed.

Santos’ contract will run for three and half years, spanning two major tournaments, Euro 2024 and World Cup 2026.

Poland will begin the Euro 2024 qualifiers in March, facing the Czech Republic away and Albania at home.