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Coach surprised at Porto sacking

February 01, 2005 19:05 IST

Victor Fernandez, sacked as coach of European champions Porto on Monday, said the decision to fire him had been totally unexpected.

"The truth is I never imagined I would be sacked," Fernandez told a Spanish radio station. "The good thing was that I didn't suffer because it all happened so suddenly.

"I played a game that had two very different sides to it, when I started it we were leaders and when it ended I was fired.

"Porto are a team in the process of reconstruction, the squad has been completely renewed. Given all of that it seemed a really strange and surprising decision."

The Spaniard signed a two-year contract with Porto in August after European Cup-winning coach Jose Mourinho's replacement Liugi Del Neri was sacked two months into the job.

Fernandez steered Porto to victory in December's World Club Cup final against South American champions Once Caldas and into the first knockout stage of the Champions League but the team's domestic form has been poor.

Porto have won only one of their last five home league matches and lost 3-1

to Braga on Sunday. They dropped to third in the table, two points behind leaders Braga.

"Admittedly we played badly on Sunday, but from there to being sacked is a very big step and I was taken aback by the decision," Fernandez said.

Porto chairman Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has declined to name any prospective replacements for Fernandez, but said he had been contacted by or was in contact with representatives for several noted coaches.

"At the appropriate time we will decide and when we have decided we will tell you," Pinto da Costa said on SIC TV.

Vitoria Setubal coach Jose Couceiro has been touted as the likely choice by Portuguese state television and radio.

Couceiro said he had not been contacted by Porto but would be interested in the job if it was offered.

"No Portuguese coach would refuse an offer from a team as big as Porto," he said.

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