Delhi Dynamos had missed out on a semi-final spot in the first season of the Indian Super League (ISL) before making it to the semi-final in the next two seasons. However, they could not make it to final in any of the campaigns.
What transpired was a disappointing and frustrating season for the club. The Lions finished eighth in the league with 19 points from 18 matches and later endured an early exit in the Super Cup against bottom-placed I-League side Churchill Brothers.
Miguel Angel Portugal and the club parted ways at the end of the season and the Spanish coach took charge at La Liga 2 club Granada CF. Reflecting upon his solitary year in Indian football, Portugal discussed the positives and the negatives he had come to terms with.
"The positives are the organizations and the fields of play. The negative is the calendar. You play four matches in ten days (in ISL) and after that, you don’t play for 15 days. It is better to make a medium to a long-term plan," he spoke exclusively to Goal.
The coaching merry-go-round is set to continue at Delhi Dynamos and Portugal is the latest victim. The former Real Madrid 'B' team coach believes that a long-term plan is essential for the club. Delhi started the season badly but picked up good results towards the end of the league season.
Although the management would have expected better results at the end of the season, Miguel Portugal asserts that his work at the club was good. What hampered his work was the meagre budget on offer for player recruitment.
"I think that my work was good. We played very well but it was difficult to adapt to the conditions of work in Delhi. We also had a low budget," said Portugal.
"We signed the foreign players based on the budget. Two players in Pune City -Alfaro and Marcelinho - earned as much as our budget."
Portugal also had a piece of advice for Delhi Dynamos for the next season. "In football, if you have more budget you can sign best players and better results are possible. That is the key."
Miguel Portugal wants his former club to spend more in the transfer market. However, he is also happy with the development of some of the Indian talents that he had at his disposal.
"I am very happy with the work of the young Indian players. Vinit (Rai), (Lallianzuala) Chhangte, Nandakumar (Sekar), Sajid (Dhot) - they have to improve but they have the confidence to play in the Indian Super League and the club has a good basis for the future," said the 60-year-old coach.
Portugal is in Spain, preparing Granada CF in their bid to earn a playoff spot. With five games left, they are four points adrift of the final playoff spot. Portugal's future at Granada beyond this season is unclear and the gaffer is leaving his doors open for a possible return to India.
"I don’t know if I will return to India after my stint at Granada CF. I am one of those who thinks that you have to leave the doors open," said the Granada CF head coach.