‘Baptism of fire’ – Former QPR manager Paulo Sousa discusses Briatore and The Four Year Plan
Paulo Sousa says his time in charge of QPR was a ‘baptism of fire’, after discussing his time in west London in an interview with Sky Sports.
Sousa, now 51, was an esteemed player with the likes of Benfica, Sporting, Juventus, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund among others.
He was capped more than 50 times by Portugal and eventually got his break in first-team management with QPR in 2008.
Sousa was just 38-years-old when he took over the club. He arrived on the back of a turbulent period which had been dotted with brief managerial stints for all of Gary Waddock, John Gregory, Luigi De Canio and Iain Dowie among even briefer stints for Mick Harford and Gareth Ainsworth.
Flavio Briatore was the man at the helm during Sousa’s tenure, and Sousa was recommended to QPR by former England and Juve boss Fabio Capello.
“He wanted someone who could speak the same language,” Sousa told Sky Sports of his QPR recommendation. “It was a baptism of fire.
“It was my first job and it taught me a lot about dealing with people. I have a strong personality and back then I was not so elastic. The cameras, I never loved them much, I preferred to be involved on the pitch and I developed a huge relationship with the players.”
At the time, QPR were the centre of The Four Year Plan – an infamous documentary/film released in 2011 which documented QPR’s plan to establish themselves as a Premier League outfit.
The plan obviously failed and shone controversy unto the club’s hierarchy, which has since changed for the better.
“I think that was my downfall at QPR,” Sousa continued. “After winning against Bristol City, Flavio came on the pitch to embrace me, probably to show everyone. The players were pulling me away to show that I belonged to them not him. It was a few weeks after that, he sacked me.”
Sousa oversaw just 26 games in a five-month spell in charge of QPR, where he won just seven games in total. He went on to have improved stints with both Swansea City and Leicester City before venturing out into Europe, and after spells in charge of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Basel, Fiorentina and Bordeaux, he’s now in charge of the Polish national side.