FC Nantes have today concluded its managerial search following the appointment of Portuguese manager Miguel Cardoso on a two-year contract. Cardoso joins from Portuguese side Rio Ave after leading them to an impressive fifth place finish in the Primeira Liga this past season.
Finishing fifth with Rio Ave, an immediate success for Cardoso following his appointment in June of 2017, came as a slight surprise to some. Before his time with Rio Ave, Cardoso had little first team experience, and his role as manager with the Premeira Liga side was in fact his first job in senior team management. Before Rio Ave came other European sides like Braga, Sporting, Deportivo, and Shakhtar Donetsk, all where the Portuguese served as an assistant manager.
While Cardoso eventually assumed the role as assistant in Donetsk, he started his time with Shakhtar as the technical coordinator of the club’s academy and as head coach of its U21 side.
His ability to develop young talent was on show in Ukraine, where Shakhtar’s academy entered a new era of productivity.
Cardoso’s stint with the academy was marked by the U19 team’s presence in the final of the Youth Champions League in the 2014/15 season, and by the ascension of young talent Viktor Kovalenko, who is now an established Ukrainian international.
Despite little experience in coaching a first team, Cardoso has quickly become known as a professional, calm, and pragmatic manager, having spent only €800,000 on transfers in the summer window despite the departure of talents Filip Krovinovic and Roderick Miranda for €3.5m and €3m respectively.
With Rio Ave the Portuguese manager would often deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation, a tactic likely to fit well with the talent at his disposal in Nantes. Cardoso liked to implement a pressing style that would lead into a fluid attack accented by quick passing when his team had possession of the ball.
In an announcement from his recently created Twitter account, Cardoso declared that he was, “Proud to join Nantes. A club with a rich history, strong identity, and supporters, like me, who are passionate about football.”
Being appointed before the World Cup is a slight advantage for Cardoso, who will have more time to prepare for a significant test in his first competitive match. Cardoso and Les Canaris’ Ligue 1 schedule starts at home against fellow Portuguese manager Leonardo Jardim and his talented Monaco side. After Monaco will be matches away at Dijon and at home against Caen.