Barnsley turn to Jose Mourinho's former assistant in bid to lift them to Championship survival

BARNSLEY are confident they have landed their own version of the '˜Special One' after confirming Jose Morais as their new head coach.
Jose Morais arrives at Oakwell.Jose Morais arrives at Oakwell.
Jose Morais arrives at Oakwell.

The Portuguese, part of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, has signed an 18-month deal.

The Oakwell outfit spoke to several other candidates, but say that Lisbon-born Morais, who becomes the club’s first overseas appointment since Gudjon Thordarsson in 2003 – and just their second overall – was the outstanding choice of the Reds hierarchy.

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Morais latterly worked as boss at Greek outfit AEK Athens and has also managed in his native Portugal, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Turkey.

The 52-year-old left his last position at AEK in January 2017 following a poor run of results.

But Morais’s wealth of experience, including time spent in England, and successful association with Mourinho, tipped the scales in his favour.

Chief executive Gauthier Ganaye said: “We are really, really pleased to have secured the club’s number one target from the start of the process.

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“We spoke to a lot of head coaches who were both in and out of employment.

“The interviewed candidates were all strong contenders, but the unanimous decision was to appoint José, who instilled the full board with the belief that he is the right man to lead us up the table, while bringing excitement back to the club with an attacking style and goals for the fans to enjoy.”

The appointment of Morais represents a timely boost for Barnsley ahead of their most critical part of the season.

The third-from-bottom Reds, who could find themselves joint bottom of the Championship if results go against them today, host Burton Albion in a huge relegation ‘six-pointer’ on Tuesday evening.

Next Saturday, Barnsley visit another relegation-threatened side in Birmingham City before visiting Yorkshire rivals Hull City in a third key survival clash on Tuesday week.