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Insight

Jorge Jesus on creativity

For Benfica coach Jorge Jesus, inspiration is more likely to come from a painting than anything in a coaching manual

INTERVIEW Carlos Machado | PHOTOGRAPHY Pedro Fiúza

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

Read the full story
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In Portugal, Benfica is called the “people’s club”. It’s a club that has a sporting and political identity, that has an imprint that every Benfica fan knows. Sporting wise, it has also had a great impact. In the past, in the 1960s, Benfica won a couple of Champions Leagues – which was then called the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – and that gave Benfica an international presence. It’s that identity that we have to match on the pitch. We need to win titles; without them, we’re not a great club. We can have a huge supporter base, legions of fans, but without titles… That’s what all Benfica fans want: to have a club that matches the sporting feats of the past. 

It’s not easy for me to relax off the pitch. Not when I win and even less when I lose. After a match, I don’t sleep. Football is not logical, it’s tricky. It is a team sport different from every other team sport. In other sports, if you have the best players, you win. In football, that doesn’t apply.

Benfica is getting stronger. We have our own way of playing; we’ve created that strength and our opponents know that it’s difficult to win against us. That is how we create our identity. We’re a team that has a way of playing – attacking or defending – that is not easy to deal with. It’s not easy to stop Benfica in attack and it’s not easy to score against Benfica. We also have players with great individual ability, who are acknowledged and appreciated in Europe. Without players with their own identity, we can’t develop a strong team.

The secret is players sharing things with the coach. Believing in him and his ideas. Without that sharing and that confidence, there’s dialogue but not an effective one. When the coach is trying to develop training sessions, the dialogue has to help ideas to be accepted. Every coach is demanding, but that must be supported by knowledge. It must have substance behind it. Discussion leads to dialogue, which is where ideas for the group often arise. That’s what’s important. The players need to acknowledge that what we’re doing is the right path for us to win. 

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

Jorge Jesus on creativity
Insight

Jorge Jesus on creativity

For Benfica coach Jorge Jesus, inspiration is more likely to come from a painting than anything in a coaching manual

INTERVIEW Carlos Machado | PHOTOGRAPHY Pedro Fiúza

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

In Portugal, Benfica is called the “people’s club”. It’s a club that has a sporting and political identity, that has an imprint that every Benfica fan knows. Sporting wise, it has also had a great impact. In the past, in the 1960s, Benfica won a couple of Champions Leagues – which was then called the European Champion Clubs’ Cup – and that gave Benfica an international presence. It’s that identity that we have to match on the pitch. We need to win titles; without them, we’re not a great club. We can have a huge supporter base, legions of fans, but without titles… That’s what all Benfica fans want: to have a club that matches the sporting feats of the past. 

It’s not easy for me to relax off the pitch. Not when I win and even less when I lose. After a match, I don’t sleep. Football is not logical, it’s tricky. It is a team sport different from every other team sport. In other sports, if you have the best players, you win. In football, that doesn’t apply.

Benfica is getting stronger. We have our own way of playing; we’ve created that strength and our opponents know that it’s difficult to win against us. That is how we create our identity. We’re a team that has a way of playing – attacking or defending – that is not easy to deal with. It’s not easy to stop Benfica in attack and it’s not easy to score against Benfica. We also have players with great individual ability, who are acknowledged and appreciated in Europe. Without players with their own identity, we can’t develop a strong team.

The secret is players sharing things with the coach. Believing in him and his ideas. Without that sharing and that confidence, there’s dialogue but not an effective one. When the coach is trying to develop training sessions, the dialogue has to help ideas to be accepted. Every coach is demanding, but that must be supported by knowledge. It must have substance behind it. Discussion leads to dialogue, which is where ideas for the group often arise. That’s what’s important. The players need to acknowledge that what we’re doing is the right path for us to win. 

I create all my own work. I don’t read coaching manuals – I read a lot, but not about football. I’ve created my work down the years and evolved, and I want to continue evolving. Our life experiences help us understand what we do best and what we didn’t do so well. And I think that’s a great quality for people to have, to be able to grow throughout their lives. We change through the years; it happens in every profession. I’m not the same coach today that I was 20 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago. Every year I try to find new approaches for my ideas. There are a lot of coaches who imitate others, but I’m a creative coach. I’m not an imitator.

A coach has to have art, has to be creative. And so does a player: his talent, his art, makes the difference. I’m not the biggest expert in painting – if I go to an art exhibit, I’ll look at most paintings and I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But I try to understand people who work in the art world, separate from football, because I want to feel why they did what they did. There’s a Paula Rego painting [of the Virgin Mary in Lisbon’s Belém Palace] that I saw. Why did she paint that? And why did she say Mary was crying and I couldn’t see it? For me, that’s art: the feelings of those who created that piece of art. It’s not only Paula Rego, but all the people who I consider to be artists or creatives. Because I think that football is an art, so my way of thinking is similar to theirs.

A coach is like a painter. When you’re painting you have to do many combinations beforehand, and you create the painting with what’s in your mind. Same with a coach: you have to create an idea of playing that you can develop with your players. That’s why I say that coaches have art and creativity within them; art can be taught, but you’re also born with it. 

Leaders aren’t made, they’re developed. They improve and evolve because of their responsibility as a leader. In football, my main objective is for those I work with to recognise that I have a work ethic. They know that the one in charge knows what he’s doing; I’m a leader because they know that I’m different.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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