Rui Faria, Jose Mourinho’s long-time deputy, has been lined up for his first foray into management with Portuguese giants Benfica.
According to The Telegraph, any move is dependant on whether or not Benfica sack current boss Rui Vitoria, who is under mounting pressure at the Lisbon club having lost the Portuguese league to Porto this season.
An official announcement made at the weekend confirmed that Faria would be departing Old Trafford, ending his 17-year relationship with Mourinho, who recently backed his former No.2 for the vacant managerial position at Arsenal.
Mourinho has remained supportive of Faria’s desire to further his career, however his departure will come as a significant blow United’s manager, having overseen trophy winning spells together at Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
The Portuguese pair first joined forces when Mourinho took Faria to Uniao de Leiria as his fitness coach in 2001. Faria has since followed Mourinho across Europe and played a big part in Porto’s successful European campaign’s from which Mourinho made his name.
Mourinho has already admitted that he has no plans to directly replace Faria and could instead took to re-shuffle his coaching staff, allowing for Michael Carrick to join the team, leaving United without a recognised number two for the immediate future.
It is always hard to gauge how successful an assistant manager can become when transitioning into the top job, added responsibilities like media duties require temperament that may otherwise have been untested.
Vitoria has by no means been a failure at Benfica, the 48-year-old – who is in his third year at the club – won the Portuguese title on his first two attempts, but this year he missed out to Sergio Conceicao’s Porto in the league.