António Oliveira, the new Corinthians coach

António Oliveira

After Mano Menezes’ dismissal, Corinthians closed the signing of António Oliveira, who was at Cuiabá.

In this article, we’ll talk about António Oliveira’s trajectory in soccer, as well as the paths that led him to the São Paulo giant.

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António Oliveira’s Playing Career

António Oliveira’s relationship with football stemmed from his father. António José Conceição Oliveira, better known as Toni, was a legend at Benfica and played 395 games over 13 seasons.

Following his father’s footsteps, António became a footballer too, but had a modest and short career. He was developed in Benfica’s youth academy, then played for Braga, Santa Clara, Casa Pia, Oriental, and Fabril Barreiro, all Portuguese teams, until retiring in 2011 at just 29 years old.

António Oliveira foi jogador das categorias de base do Benfica e chegou a atuar no time profissional, mas não viu a carreira dentro dos gramados deslanchar

Photo: AssCom Dourado

Starting on the Sidelines

Right after ending his playing career, he did an internship with Benfica’s under-17 team and got his first coaching opportunity at Tractor in Iran. He served as his father’s assistant from 2012 to 2016, winning the Iran Cup in the 2013/14 season.

Still as an assistant, he had a brief stint of only six months with Rudar in Slovenia. His first job as head coach came in 2017 when he took charge of Kuwait’s Kazma, with his father as the team’s manager. At the end of the 2018/19 season, both António Oliveira and his father left the club, leaving Kazma in 4th place in the national championship. The Portuguese also won the Kuwait Federation Cup in 2018.

Fechado com oo Athletico, António Oliveira tem passagem por clubes como Kazma e Santos — Foto: Kazma

Photo: Kazma

Career in Brazil

After “parting ways” with his father to pursue his own career, António Oliveira talked about this break: “I started my career with him (Toni) in 2012, almost anonymously. And over the years, I built confidence, mixing my work, my competence. It was like this over the years, also with achievements, right? In the last two years (2018 and 2019), with some records, but I don’t live for records. I live for work and then the records are the crowning of this success,” he said to the Portuguese channel Sport TV in 2019.

In this way, he had his first experience in Brazil in 2020. The Portuguese accepted Jesualdo Ferreira’s invitation to be the assistant coach of the main team and the head coach of Santos B team. The duo stayed at Santos from January to August of that year, and with Jesualdo’s dismissal, António Oliveira opted to leave the club.

António Oliveira na época em que era auxiliar de Jesualdo no Santos

Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

At the end of 2020, António accepted the invitation from executive manager Willian Thomas, who had worked with him at Santos, to be the assistant coach to Paulo Autuori at Athletico Paranaense.

In 2021, the Portuguese was appointed as head coach and led Furacão for 9 months with 21 wins, seven draws, and 12 losses in 40 games (58% win rate).

Conheça António Oliveira, novo técnico do Cuiabá, e como jogava o Athletico sob o comando do português - Olhar Esportivo

Photo: Albari Rosa

In the first half of 2021, he coached Benfica B, then returned to Brazil to lead Cuiabá, achieving the main goal of the season, which was to keep the Mato Grosso club in the first division.

After the success, he was hired by Coritiba for the 2023 season but had a short stint and was fired in the first round of the Brasileirão, when they lost 3-0 to Flamengo at Maracanã.

In May 2023, António Oliveira returned to Cuiabá and did a great job. The Mato Grosso team was seen as a strong candidate for relegation, but with António’s adjustments, they became a much more solid team, with strong defense and quick offensive transitions.

Cuiabá practically faced no risks with António Oliveira in the 2023 Brasileirão, finishing the competition in 12th place, ahead of Corinthians, and qualifying for the Copa Sudamericana. In addition to starring in big games, such as victories over Flamengo, Santos, Fluminense, and Bahia, all won by 3-0.

Antônio Oliveira - Corinthians - Cuiabá

Photo: AssCom Dourado

António Oliveira’s Expectations at Corinthians

Considering the poor phase, António Oliveira can greatly improve the team’s performance. He is a promising coach with well-defined ideas, so initially he should prioritize defense, which has been conceding many goals. He should also make good use of his center-forward, as he did with Deyverson at Cuiabá, who not only scored many goals (his career’s most prolific season) but was also crucial in defense, in the first tackle.

Corinthians had been playing under Mano in a 4-2-3-1 formation that alternated to 4-1-4-1. The preferred system used by António Oliveira, and which had been applied at Cuiabá, was a 4-3-3. Therefore, the Portuguese coach likes to see his team making triangular passes, with players close together, and also places a lot of importance on through balls that exploit the width, the sides of the field, to relieve pressure on a play and force the opponent to open up large spaces in their defense.


Written by Henry Miller.

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