Marco Silva: Five things to know about the new Hull City manager
New Hull City manager Marco Silva has enjoyed unbroken success since venturing into management shortly after ending his playing career at Estoril.
He won silverware at Lisbon giants Sporting Lisbon and Greek powerhouse Olympiakos, but arguably his most impressive work was at his first club, Estoril.
Silva led the modest outfit to promotion to Portugal's top flight, then into Europe on two successive occasions. Out-performing bigger names is a feat the 39-year-old Portuguese will be aiming to repeat in his new adventure at the KCOM Stadium.
Here are five things to know about Marco Silva.
Punched above his weight at an unfashionable club before
Estoril-Praia are a club of extremely limited resources, attracting crowds barely breaking the one thousand barrier, yet while Silva was in charge the team from the outskirts of Lisbon were a match for the best in Portugal.
After leading his side to promotion at the first attempt, Silva guided Estoril to a historical 5th place finish and qualification for the Europa League. Inevitably, the club lost its best players at the end of the season, as Lica and Carlos Eduardo moved to Porto and Steven Vitoria to Benfica.
Remarkably, the team did not miss a step in 2013/14, bettering the previous year's efforts to once again set a new club record by finishing the season in 4th. Sporting had seen enough and in the summer of 2014 he was appointed head coach of the Lisbon giants.
Gets the most out of his players
A good metric for a football manager is how much he gets out of players compared to his peers. As mentioned above, Silva's heroics at Estoril led to transfers for the team's best players.
As well as Lica, Eduardo and Vitoria, the manager also had to soldier on despite the losses of speedy striker Luis Leal and Brazilian left-back Jefferson. Out of the five players mentioned above, all flourished at Estoril, and all have floundered in their new surroundings, their new managers clearly unable to get them to replicate the form they showed under Silva -- with one exception. Jefferson enjoyed a fabulous season at Sporting in 2014-15. Who was the manager? Marco Silva, and upon Silva's departure from the Alvalade, the Brazilian has fallen off the chart.
An "arms around the shoulder" manager rather than a dictator, Silva plainly has a way with footballers that extracts the maximum use of their talents.
Working under difficult owners is nothing new
Upon leaving Estoril to move up the football food chain, Silva enjoyed continued success at Sporting, winning the Portuguese Cup -- the club's first trophy for seven years -- and at Olympiakos, where he won the Greek title at a canter and impressed in the Champions League. Nevertheless, he left both clubs in somewhat cloudy circumstances, apparently unable to build a working relationship with the respective presidents.
Given the firebrand nature of Sporting supremo Bruno de Carvalho and his Greek counterpart Evangelos Marinakis, both of whom have been trigger-happy in the extreme when it comes to hiring and firing managers, this aspect of Silva's career may be attributed to working with difficult paymasters.
By all accounts of the Hull City hierarchy, these episodes may prove useful experience in dealing with the fantastically unpopular owners of his latest club.
Expert at player recruitment
Upon hanging up his boots, Marco Silva was appointed Estoril's football director, his main brief being to assess the needs of the squad and identify potential targets.
It was a role he performed well, so much so that when he was made the head coach a few months later he had helped assemble a squad that would result in a team playing football of far greater quality than the sum of its parts. He continued to oversee Estoril's skilful acquisition policy as his best players were cherry-picked at regular intervals by richer clubs.
His acumen for spotting a player, strengthening the squad and creating team chemistry will be needed, and quickly, at Hull City.
A blessing for Portuguese TV viewers
Marco Silva's clean-cut, polite and undemonstrative demeanour was on view for all to see during the first half of the season in Portugal as he was the expert analyst chosen by state broadcaster RTP for their midweek Champions League round-up shows during the group stage.
Silva's record makes it clear he has considerable ability in getting his message across to footballers as a coach, but any charisma or attention-holding capacity is confined to the training pitch. Silva's soporific and deadpan obvious punditry will not be missed.
Tom Kundert covers Portuguese football for ESPN FC. Twitter: @PortuGoal1.