Many Rangers fans will be unfamiliar with potential new manager Pedro Caixinha so we had a chat with Mexican Football expert and Liga MX ESPN Correspondent Tom Marshall to get the lowdown on the 46-year-old. Tom covered Pedro during his successful 2 season in Mexico as manager of Santos Laguna.
What kind of manager is Pedro Caixinha, what are his philosophies?
Studious, meticulous in preparation, hands on in training and ambitious. I’d also say he is pragmatic when it comes to style. He is results-focused. Caixinha’s Santos Laguna side tended to be less concerned with possession – like most teams are in Mexico – and more focused on hitting the opposition in transitions with pace, although I wouldn’t like to say he’d necessarily play that way with Rangers. Caixinha has learned from Carlos Queiroz and Jose Mourinho and follows the tactical periodization methodology of Victor Frade. The style Caixinha would implement will likely depend on the players at his disposal. He’ll be very aware of what the club means after studying in Scotland. When he came to Mexico he read Octavio Paz’s “Labyrinth of Solitude” to help him better understand Mexican culture. Caixinha will know what he is getting himself into if he gets the Rangers job.
What are his main strengths/weaknesses?
Caixinha is shrewd tactically, prepares his teams very well and is clearly obsessed with achieving big things. He has studied English, picked up Spanish very quickly in Mexico and has sacrificed a lot in his personal life to make it as a manager, despite not being a big-name player. However, he didn’t always have a great relationship at times with Santos fans, other managers in Mexico and some of the press. Basically, Caixinha isn’t afraid to speak his mind and some in Mexico didn’t take kindly to him rocking the boat. He was sent off a couple of times for losing it on the bench after refereeing decisions.
Could you summarise his achievements in Mexico?
Santos (Laguna) reached the semifinal in three of the five tournaments he was here and they were crowned champions once. That was despite experienced players like Oribe Peralta, Oswaldo Sanchez and Juan Pablo Rodriguez, as well as Colombian Darwin Quintero, all leaving the club in that period. Aside from that, his methodology and level of preparation were very new in Mexico. For example, he never repeated a training session in almost three years at the club. It was almost like Arsene Wenger coming to England and gradually changing the culture, although obviously Caixinha wasn’t in Mexico long enough to have the same impact.
Whats his record like in the transfer market?
Very good. Santos sold big-name players and brought in Argentines like Agustin Marchesin, Carlos Izquierdoz and Diego “Pulpo” Gonzalez and went on to become champion. He used his connections in Portugal to sign the relatively unknown Cape Verde international Djaniny, who was a key player in the title run.
What type of football does he like to play?
Honestly, I wouldn’t like to say how his Rangers team will play. As I understand Caixinha’s philosophy, it will largely depend on the players at his disposal. His Santos team had a physically strong core and were rapid on the wings, picking teams off on the counter – Santos won the Clausura 2015 final 1st leg 5-0 – but only had 38 percent possession. Make no mistake though, he’ll have a firm idea of what he wants to implement and won’t be wishy-washy about it.
How does he handle the media?
Caixinha comes to press conferences prepared and often with a message he wants to get across. In Mexico, he once brought a list of examples of how refereeing decisions had benefited Club America and read them out one by one. I miss having him in Mexico because he got debates going and was a straight-talker. He went against the grain and is clearly intelligent. Rangers fans will enjoy his passion.
Comparisons have been made with Mourinho, in what way are they similar?
Pragmatist, work ethic, coaching methodology, ambition and high level of confidence in own abilities.
How far can he go in the game?
If he can tame his fiery temper a touch and not get into as much trouble with the authorities, Caixinha has the background to do very well. There is no doubt he’ll see reeling in Celtic as the central challenge at Rangers. From there, he’ll be keen to make a mark in European competition. With the way Portuguese managers are so in vogue at the moment, it’d be no surprise to see him at Porto, Sporting or Benfica, in the Premier League or in La Liga five years from now. What he lacks at the moment is a proven track record in Europe.
Follow Tom on Twitter HERE.