Ex-Al Wasl assistant Pedro Carmona is convinced he can achieve the ambitious goal of becoming “the best coach in the Middle East” thanks to hard lessons learned during his European return.
Carmona, 34, was a long-term ally of Argentinian tactician Gabriel Calderon at Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, Bani Yas, Bahrain, La Liga’s Real Betis and the Cheetahs. He broke away in November 2015 to become part of Engishman Gary Neville’s staff at Valencia, before his first stint as head coach saw a 73-year wait ended for minnows Estoril to enter the Taca de Portugal‘s semi-finals.
The Spaniard has been unemployed since March because of indifferent form in the Primeira Liga and changing targets from the Canarinhos rulers.
“My experience in Portugal was fine, all experiences are good,” said Carmona, who won two, drew two and lost nine of his games in charge of a relegation-threatened side.
“If you don’t have a very good team, you can’t do many things. I left because the owner wanted to be fighting for the Champions League and Europa League – that is all.
“I love the Middle East and I worked there for five years. I know the culture of the footballers there.
“My target is to be a big coach, the best coach in the Middle East.
“Always you learn. I am a better coach after Valencia and Estoril.”
Carmona was drafted in by a struggling team last December. The highlight of his tenure was taking Estoril to a 5-4 aggregate loss to giants Benfica in the cup’s last four.
This experience of battling Portugal’s finest has emboldened him.
He said: “The main things I learned in Estoril was to be effective. It is difference when you start with a team in July for pre-season, or start in the middle of the season.
“Portugal is a very-competitive league and I played against Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon.”
Carmona won the Saudi Professional League and Crown Prince Cup double at Hilal in 2010/11, plus helped lead Bani to their knockout-stage debut in the 2012 AFC Champions League.
He hoped the kind of mentality change which saw Wasl shine under the youthful Rodolfo Arruabarrena last term, could lead to a premium Arabian Gulf League post.
“Here in Europe, it is normal to sign a young coach,” Carmona said.
“But in the Middle East, they like coaches who are 60-years old. Young coaches are hungry.”