Former Everton left-back Nuno Valente says the “intelligent and ambitious” Marco Silva is a great appointment as Blues manager – and a “man to manage great teams”.
Valente observed his fellow Portuguese oversee Estoril’s “truly amazing” rise from the middle of the second division to a top-four Primeira Liga finish in the pair’s homeland.
The 43-year-old was similarly impressed with Silva’s 2014/15 cup-winning campaign at the helm of Sporting Lisbon – the club where Valente launched his decorated career and which he supports today – in particular, the boss’ clear “vision” for the expressive football he asked his team to play.
Silva left Portugal in 2015 to take charge of Olympiakos and promptly masterminded the Athens club’s record-breaking Greek title-winning campaign. Valente insists the manager’s resounding success in Greece serves as further evidence of his capacity to deliver progressive and entertaining football, while Silva’s Premier League experience with Hull City and Watford will give him a leg-up as he embarks on a “completely different challenge” with Everton.
“For me, he is a great coach for Everton,” Valente told evertonfc.com. “I am very excited about him. He is a clever coach. He was young when he took over at Estoril. He had just finished playing and had ambition and passion for what he was doing.
“Estoril is not a big club in Portugal. To take them from the second division to the top four in the Primeira Liga was truly amazing.
“The important thing is the quality of his teams, they play very good football.
“He is great for the players and fans. He unites them and creates a good atmosphere. I am a fan as well and when I go and see my team play like this I am so happy.
“Marco gives the fans this joy. And I am sure Evertonians will enjoy the way his team plays.
“He has a vision for the way he wants his teams to perform and I believe he will do a great job for Everton.”
Silva has outlined his intention to mould a courageous Everton team which will not shrink from its positive outlook, no matter the opponent or venue.
That fearless approach is a trait Valente recognises from watching Silva’s previous sides. And the former defender, who represented Portugal in two major tournaments and was capped 33 times by his country, says Evertonians can expect to see individual players improve under the tutelage of a skilful and meticulous coach.
“He does everything to help the players and works very well with individuals,” said Valente. "He gives his players all the information they need for each game and encourages them to enjoy their football.
“If you enjoy your football, it is easier to play. Marco develops strong relationships with his players and helps them produce their best on the pitch – and they want to give everything for him. He is very good at communicating with his players, individually and collectively.
“It is important to him to give the players the conditions to do very well in every game and make them believe they can win all the time.
“Marco and his staff have the ambition to win every game. He knows it is difficult but I believe he will improve Everton."
Valente joined Everton in 2005 from Porto, where he was a key performer in Jose Mourinho’s remarkable team. The classy left footer won the 2004 Champions League under Mourinho, 12 months after Porto had defeated Celtic 3-2 in a fiery UEFA Cup final in Seville.
He stayed at Goodison Park for four years and played 60 games for the Club before injury hastened his retirement in 2009.
Valente’s influence on David Moyes’ side when he was available for sustained periods was underlined when Everton won seven and drew two of an 11-match run the full-back had in the team in his debut campaign. Equally, in Valente’s nine Premier League outings in 2007/08 he was on the losing side only once.
The two-times Portuguese title winner retains a huge affection for the Toffees and is delighted he once more has reason to get behind a manager who achieved an extraordinarily high approval rating among Sporting Lisbon fans.
“I am a Sporting Lisbon supporter and none of the fans were happy when Marco had to leave,” said Valente.
“Sporting is a club where there are always a lot of problems to manage and Marco handled it all very well. He did a great job.
“The fans loved him. He was young, ambitious and delivered very good football.
“In the 32 years before he arrived, Sporting had won only two league titles (in 1999/00 and 2001/02) but when he was there they fought to be champions and won the Portuguese Cup.
“The level he reached was extremely impressive. To come close to winning the league and win the cup was viewed as a big achievement.
“In Portugal, we know all about the guy. He was a champion in Greece and showed what he can do with talented players.
“It is not easy for a young coach from abroad to go and manage in the Premier League but he immediately had Hull playing really good football. And he did very well with Watford from the start.”
Silva talked at his official Everton unveiling this month of bringing stability to the Club and forging an enduring and prosperous relationship with Director of Football Marcel Brands.
And Valente is looking forward to watching Silva get his teeth into the job in L4.
“Everton is a completely different challenge for Marco,” added Valente. “Everton is a great club and has good players and when you have good players it is easier to implement your ideas, ambition and mentality.
“I think Everton will be very good for him. And the staff and fans at Everton should be very happy to have him. I love Everton and support the Club as well as Sporting – and I hope he is there for a long time because he is a great coach.
“He is a good man and a man for this job – a man to manage great teams.
“The experience he has in the Premier League – the best league in the world – is going to help him enormously in the future.
“He is a great coach and will bring quality and ambition to Everton.”