University of South Wales head of sport says new Tottenham assistant manager always showed a ‘phenomenal’ work rate

Joao Sacramento playing for the University of Glamorgan 2008/9 season. ©USW

by Jordan Jones & Julie Kissick 

NEW Tottenham Hotspur assistant manager João Sacramento always showed an impressive work ethic, according to USW head of sport Steve Savage.

The 29 year old, who has been named as Jose Mourinho’s assistant manager at Spurs, is an MSc Performance Coaching graduate of the former University of Glamorgan.

His appointment as Mourinho’s number two comes after Mauricio Pocchetino’s shock exit from the north London club.

Sacramento, from Barcelos in Portugal, arrived in South Wales in 2008 and became part of the university football programme, which Savage headed.

“Joao was one of my players. He wasn’t a bad football player and football certainly helped him integrate into university life,” said Savage.

“He got a first class honours degree with us. His work rate was phenomenal in the classroom and away from the classroom. His area of specialism were analysis, opposition studies and about how football teams play. He supported our analysis programme.

“I’m delighted for him, he’s a great lad. We always stayed in contact with him to make sure he was doing okay. His journey is fantastic. It goes to show if you work hard enough and take the opportunities that come your way then you’ll get your chance.”

Joao Sacramento, new Spurs assistant, in the same role at the University of Glamorgan 2011-12

Sacramento impressed as a masters student, gaining a placement with the Football Association of Wales Trust as an analyst. He did an internship with both the Trust and the Football Association of Wales, working alongside Gary Speed and Chris Coleman.

“He went on to work with us at the university as an hourly paid lecturer and then became part of our coaching setup,” added Savage.

“It’s amazing now that he’s at Tottenham.  It’s how he got to known Jose Mourinho. He did a piece of work that he sent to Mourinho, Mourinho read it and thought it was fantastic and they’ve stayed in contact since.

“It’s fantastic for him and it’s great for us as a university. I’m pleased for him, not only is he a good coach but he understands the game clearly. He’s a good academic as well as a good practical coach, but he’s also a really good person. It stands you in good stead and no doubt that’s helped him.”

Savage also believes that the increase in demand for football degrees helps those who want to take a more analytical approach to the game to become visible.

“The business of football is clearly growing, hence a lot of football degrees and football programme’s across the UK. USW have one of the best in the UK and Europe and we link well with the FAW Trust and the Welsh FA.

“How we integrate football coaching badges into our football degree programme but also the industry links we have has clearly helped the students to understand the industry and João is testament to that.

“He’s done really well, the course has done well and the industry links help make the students who study with us employable.”