With Portugal on the verge of non-qualification for the World Cup in 2010, manager Carlos Queiroz is under extreme pressure and has the very real possibility of unemployment looming over him. Given this threat, and inevitability that this will occur, I ask you… How long before we see the Portuguese back in the Manchester United dugout alongside Sir Alex Ferguson?
With Portugal lying fourth in their World Cup qualifying group with only ten points from seven matches. Going into the qualification group as favourites, the current state of affairs comes as a real shock for the Euro 2008 quarter-finalists.
Denmark have more or less qualified for the World Cup with Hungary and Sweden in equally strong positions. It was imperative the Portuguese overcame Hungary in the last match, but even still, the jobcentre still looms large for Queiroz.
With Portugal lying third in Group A, level on points with fourth placed Hungary and two points behind Sweden who lie second. With two games remaining Portugal face Hungary and Malta, both in Portugal, nothing less than six points from these games will do. But Sweden do have a relatively straightforward fixture with Albania, before which, they play Denmark, a game that will decide the fate of Carlos.
Queiroz therefore may be looking for new employment sooner rather than later and the Old Trafford bench is a familiar environment, one where he has had success in the past as well.
During his first reign sat beside Ferguson for only one year but managed to help the Old Trafford side win the Premier League title on season 02/03, before being poached by Real Madrid. It was after an unsuccessful year in Madrid that he was brought back to Old Trafford by Ferguson to begin an extremely successful four-year reign as assistant manager.
As a number one, Queiroz is terrible, making mistake after mistake. He is also accountable for Portugal’s failure to qualify for Euro ’92 and after taking over a very talented Sporting Lisbon team, led them to three seasons of failure and was promptly dismissed. After his first stint at Old Trafford, Real Madrid offered him a dream job, one that he could not turn down, and one that was a veritable disaster.
Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed the failed coach back to Old Trafford as his number two in July 2004 and so began a fruitful relationship. A number of trophies became housed at Old Trafford, including the 2008 Champions League trophy. Queiroz was seen as instrumental in United’s success, introducing new training methods and tactical plans that underpinned the Manchester United side of a few years back.
He also has an eye for talent spotting; he famously discovered Portugal’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ and also had a hand in bringing Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford. But these positives have not transpired into the managerial stage and who knows, he may be back sharing a glass or two of Chianti with Sir Alex before the year is out.