3. Nuno, a Great Man Manager and Motivator
Unlike the divisive Portuguese who recently exited Hotspur Way, Nuno promotes, even demands, togetherness. Understanding acutely the importance of a tight-knit team, Nuno first prioritizes developing a team chemistry that can withstand adversity in all shapes and forms.
His first managerial gig was at Portuguese side Rio Ave, where he managed to secure the Primeira Liga side’s first top six finish in over 30 years. One of his first courses of action was, after training, to take the team to paintball.
The activity wasn’t merely designed as a healthy outlet for players to take their frustrations out on each other, though that was part of it. The team-bonding exercise facilitated a family-like camaraderie behind the scenes, eventually paying dividends on the field. Rio Ave developed an unbreakable collective bond, a major factor in the team’s sixth place finish in the 2012-2013 season.
Rio Ave has since finished in the top six twice, carrying the momentum from Nuno’s rein well after his departure.
In the public eye Nuno appears calm, composed and unerringly poised, important facets of a manager at an elite level. But for a few public outbursts, Nuno doesn’t let his emotions billow over in front of the camera. He is calculated and deliberate, never throwing his players under the bus.
That’s not to say he isn’t emotional. Nuno cares deeply about his players, which comes across in various ways. He’s been known to lose it behind closed curtains, letting his raw emotion spill over. An impassioned individual, Nuno, like all of the best managers, has a penchant for competition, an unwavering desire to win.
He’s also renowned for his stirring pre-match and halftime team talks, knowing precisely when to evoke the relevant emotion. He’s as comfortable putting an arm around a distraught player as he is laying into the collective for lacklustre performances.
Nuno is the prototype of a modern manager, knowing that both nature and nurture can be effective forms of motivation when timed appropriately.