After spending years as the assistant, Fabio Carille, has pushed Corinthians to the top of the table in his first season in charge

Fabio Carille is the man making all the headlines in Brazil. How can he not be, when his Corinthians side are on top of the league table following eight wins and two draws in the first ten games so far? After a disappointing second-half last season as a consequence of Tite’s departure, the ‘Timão’ are looking sharp again.

Before his coaching journey began, Carille was a left-back for the majority of his career, and had an unsuccessful short spell at Corinthians in 1995. By 2006, after converting to a center-back, Fabio had joined Grêmio Barueri where he was blighted with injuries, and eventually retired at the age of 33.

The Paulista side decided to appoint him as assistant coach. Willing to improve himself, Carille decided to undergo an internship with Mano Menezes. The former, who had been impressed by his mentor’s ability to learn quickly, was appointed as Corinthians coach in 2009, and decided to offer Carille the opportunity to be his assistant.

After arriving, one of Carille’s first decisions was insisting to sign Leandro Castán and Ralf, who he had worked with at Grêmio Barueri. The duo eventually helped Corinthians win the Copa Libertadores in 2012, while playing a key role.

Back to 2010 and Menezes left Corinthians in order to take charge of Brazil’s national team, following Dunga’s dismissal. The club then decided to appoint Carille as permanent assistant in the technical staff, no matter who the coach is. So eventually, Carille ended up working as back-up from 2009 up to 2016, with Mano Menezes, Adilson Batista, Tite, Cristovão Borges and Oswaldo de Oliveira.

Having worked with two defensive masters in Menezes and Tite, he was able to gain a lot of knowledge on how to organize a back four. However, the 43-year old had always stated that he dreamed of becoming the senior coach, one day. And in 2017, the opportunity finally came, as the club decided to reward his loyalty and experience in the backroom, by appointing him as the boss.

After his appointment, Carille made two promises to the fans: that his team will be organized, and that it will show a lot of dedication. He only wanted committed players in the roster. One of the main problems in 2016 was having players who were ‘Patos’ – for them, winning is good, but losing is not a big problem.

As a result, Guilherme left to Atlético Paranaense, and Marlone to Atlético Mineiro. As his main experience was working the defensive part of the team, Carille’s priority was to rebuild the shape of the strongest characteristic of Corinthians over the last decade: a solid rearguard. In the first few weeks, he was accused of being too defensive, playing the ugly way in order to dig out results.

However, as the days passed, after feeling reassured that the defense had reached enough maturity, Corinthians slowly began to improve their attack, and are now the 5th highest team in terms of possession, and the league’s second strongest attack with 18 goals. Needless to say that the league leaders also have the best defense in Brazil, having only conceded five goals.

Similarly to Tite, Carille’s team prioritizes building from the back, a balanced midfield, and three forwards constantly swapping positions. His two main tactical variations have so far been the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-1-4-1. His priority is solidity, but his team does not deserve to be labelled as defensive, because against opponents that defend deep, Corinthians have always found a way to sneak the win – as we saw against Cruzeiro. However, in some tough away games, as against Palmeiras in the Paulista, or recently Grêmio in the league, the team was excellent in preventing the opposition from creating clear-cut chances, and working on their mistakes.


Fabio Carille recently confirmed that his ideal Corinthians for 2017 is not there yet, but that it is in the process of getting there. The São Paulo-born trainer also revealed that low possession stats at the start of the season was a temporary choice, but not a permanent style.

So far, he was able to guide the club to their first Paulista title since 2013, and win at the Grêmio Arena, something Tite had never done – in the process topping the Brazilian league. Carille’s appointment has so far paid dividends, and many journalists are already referring to him as Tite’s heir.

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