THE BALL – Departing for Arabia, Pepa guarantees: «I am not one with great sorrows» (Vitória de Guimarães)

Pepa left this Sunday for Saudi Arabia, where he will guide Al Tai. The 41-year-old coach shows ambition to take on his first project abroad, but he didn’t stop talking about the abrupt departure of V. Guimarães.

«More than talking about the recent past, I would like to thank you. Thanks to the city of Guimarães, to the fans, who already did it. But now it’s a new page, a completely different challenge. I leave with great pride. I’m very young, but I’m very proud. There are almost 200 games in the League, with knowing how to be, with respect for all football agents. It all happened so fast, I wasn’t expecting this. I leave with this nostalgia and thanks to all the presidents, players, referees and fans. I haven’t been yet and I already miss it, but it’s a see you soon», he told journalists present at Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, in Porto.

Asked directly about the departure of V. Guimarães, Pepa said: «If you ask me if I would like to leave in another way, of course I would idealize another type of exit, with trophies, a final, something grandiose. We managed to qualify for European competitions and I’m rooting for them to make it into the group stage, they started well… I’m not one to be very sorry. It was an episode, with me and the president wanting to defend the best for the club. Of that I am sure. In different ways. We wanted the best for the club. I wish it had been otherwise, but it is what it is.”

«I prefer to value what Bruno Varela, team captain, said. The medals that remain are the players having a very good image of the coach. With the president, situations happen, nothing serious, it was a normal discussion, an exchange of arguments», he continued, wanting to address Ricardo Quaresma’s comment.

Words had yes to Moreno, who assumed command of the Guimarães soon after his departure. “I was very happy with the victory. [frente ao Akadémia Puskás, na Liga Conferência], very satisfied by the players. I have no doubt that Moreno will do an excellent job. We worked a lot together, we were very in tune. The B team’s way of playing was very close to the first team.”

At the end, he also left his ambitions for the new challenge: «It was all very fast. Two days after leaving I started to be bombed. I started by saying no, my head was full, but Al Tai insisted, insisted and, every year, I would like to have this experience. Anyone who knows me knows that, always with my feet on the ground, my ambition is always at the maximum. I want to help the Arab player to evolve and put my demands and competitiveness on behalf of the club. It’s a year with another option, but I will return to Portugal. I feel like there’s a lot to do here. What? Titles, I won’t forget about Jamor and I’ll get there one day.”