Exclusive: Rio Ave and Iran striker Mehdi Taremi eyes UEFA Europa League qualification, heralds Portuguese tactician Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal’s Rio Ave currently stands 6th place in the Priemira Liga having registered 32 points (46% win percentage) from 21 games; Rio Ave have registered seven clean sheets in the Primeira Liga this season.


Rio Ave, who finished 7th in the Primeira Liga last season, have earned 17 points from a possible 24 in their last eight Primeira Liga matches. Rio Ave defeated Desportivo Aves 4-0 at the Estádio do Clube das Aves this past Sunday in the Primeira Liga to extend their recent run of positive form.


Rio Ave meanwhile have scored 13 and conceded five in their last six encounters in the Primeira Liga which has witnessed the Vilacondenses continue their pursuit for UEFA Europa League qualification under the 54-year-old Braga-born tactician, formerly the Head Coach of Swansea City; Carvalhal’s winning percentage (32%) during his ill-fated five month tenure with Swansea City in the Premier League in the 2017/2018 season witnessed the club being relegated to the Sky Bet Championship.


Elsewhere, the Rioavistas have finished in the top seven in the Primeira Liga on five separate occasions in the last 11 Primeira Liga seasons:  12th (2008/2009), 12th (2009/2010), 8th (2010/2011), 14th (2011/2012), 6th (2012/2013), 11th (2013/2014), 10th (2014/2015), 6th (2015/2016), 7th (2016/2017), 5th (2017/2018) and 7th (2018/2019).


The Vila do Conde-based club, who qualified for the 2014/2015 UEFA Europa League, were also runners up in the 2013/2014 Taça de Portugal final which saw Rio Ave lose 1-0 to Benfica.


Rio Ave’s next seven Primeira Liga matches are against: Sporting Lisbon (Home – February 15), Tondela (Away – February 22), Belenenses (Home – February 29), FC Porto (Away – March 8), FC Paços de Ferreira (Home – March 15), Moreirense (Away – March 22) and Benfica (Home – April 5).


FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM’s Dean Perretta briefly caught up with Rio Ave and Iran striker, Mehdi Taremi, 27, who has scored seven goals and assisted five in 16 games this season, to discuss Rio Ave’s pursuit of securing a UEFA Europa League qualification berth, Carlos Carvalhal’s tactical influence and the Iranian’s collective thoughts on the season so far.



Dean Perretta: Mehdi, can you talk about Rio Ave’s expectations and recent form in the Primeira Liga, especially with regards to securing European action?

Mehdi Taremi: First of all, I appreciate my teammates and technical, medical and officials in general (at the club). Secondly by supporting each other and achieving our goal as one for all and all for one we will reach to the point (of qualification for Europe).



Dean Perretta: Based on performances and consistency so far this season in the Primeira Liga, can you touch on the local media throughout Vila da Conde and their overall support of Rio Ave throughout the 2019/2020 campaign?

Mehdi Taremi: I accept my respect to all medias and their coverage and honesty, which is one of the most important issues in their professional work. I believe they will keep continuing this method until the end of the season, especially my club’s media department.




Dean Perretta: In terms of leadership and coaching philosophy, what ultimately separates Carlos Carvahal from the other coaches which you’ve worked with throughout your career?

Mehdi Taremi: Of course I’ve worked with several coaches to this point today. Starting with my locals and internationals, the one who changed my view was Mr. Carlos Queiroz, who supports and refreshes the professional ways of working and coach Carlos Carvalhal who prepares me unbelievably, mentally and technically and emotionally, to be ready and work hard in my first experience (as a professional footballer) in Europe .


 Dean Perretta: Which particular technical areas of the game has the team been working most diligently throughout training?

Mehdi Taremi: Just have a look to our results (in the Primeira Liga this season). We have everything, look at the goals we are scoring. For instance, it’s mixed and a combination of all technical details that come from coaching and technical groups and my teammates and we’re doing our best (to maintain this performance level) .



Dean Perretta: Lastly, how would you describe the benefits and positives of Carvahal’s system and, of course, his principles as a Head Coach?

Mehdi Taremi: Hehas a special character. So friendly, effective coach, psychologist (in man-management), respectful and a person who knows how to manage and set the players mind and get them ready for the games. At some part of the season, I have been physically not ready as I missed pre-season, due to my travel process to Portugal and national team Iran games. He supported me and was beside the team. That means a lot to me. Hereby, from your network, I would like to appreciate Rio Ave FC supporters, who are supporting us in rain and sun, in victory or loss case, meanwhile club management and officials (who continue with their professionalism). And if I’m scoring (for Rio Ave), it comes from our team support and chances. And you as media as well.