Ferguson convinced me to take up management – Milosevic's road to Partizan

Savo Milosevic has taken up his first coaching role at Partizan Belgrade. He spoke to Omnisport about Alex Ferguson's influence.

Up until March, Savo Milosevic had never worked as a head coach.

A Serbian great, Milosevic's CV only showed a brief assistant role with Branko Brnovic's Montenegro from 2011 to 2012.

Milosevic – who scored 37 goals in 102 international appearances – did spend some time as part of UEFA's technical observers group for Euro 2016, a team led by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that included the likes of Gareth Southgate and David Moyes.

The 45-year-old also served as vice-president of the Football Association of Serbia. But, thanks to some words of encouragement from Ferguson, Milosevic finds himself at the helm of Serbian giants and boyhood club Partizan Belgrade.

"Ferguson and all of them then talked to me, convincing me that I should start as a coach, that I have this thing to become a coach," Milosevic told Omnisport.

"I started to think it. I started my pro license two years ago and that's how everything went.

"I was analysing the Euros. I analysed 12 games. Then I realised I could do that really good."

Joint-top goalscorer at Euro 2000 alongside Patrick Kluivert as the former republic of Yugoslavia reached the quarter-finals, it is Milosevic's first foray into management, however the ex-Aston Villa and Parma striker feels ready.

"It's not new for me," he added. "I was partially doing that job in the past six, seven years working in the FA of Serbia. Then I started to work with UEFA's technical observer group, analysing the European high-level football. I was preparing myself for this.

"I completed my UEFA license recently, which is one important part of education. When you put my experience as a player, it's not too complicated for me.

"Of course, there's things I have to learn and learn quick. That's what I'm trying to do now. But it was important that I started and I started at a big club. I'm going to be able to learn quickly."

Milosevic joined Partizan as a 14-year-old before making his senior debut in 1992. He scored 74 goals for the Belgrade powerhouse, winning two league titles and a cup, before joining Premier League side Villa for a then-club record fee of £3.5million in 1995, and he claimed a League Cup winners' medal in his first season.

However, Partizan – who won six successive league titles from 2008 to 2013 – have fallen on tough times as bitter rivals Red Star Belgrade dominate Serbia's SuperLiga.

Without a league title since 2016-17, Partizan ended the regular season 30 points adrift of Red Star in third position and 21 points behind second-placed Radnicki Nis.

In the championship round, Partizan are 15 points off the pace as Red Star – four points above Radnicki – close in on back-to-back SuperLiga crowns.

"Basically, Partizan have had a very tough season," Milosevic said. "So many things went wrong. It's a complicated situation. I chose to start now instead of June because that's how I'm going to be able to see from the inside what's the biggest problem with the players and the club, so I can be prepared for June.

"There's going to be a lot of changes definitely in the team. We have to do it, but also around the team and the position of the club. In the organisation, there are many things in which we have to improve if we want to be better.

"I'm expecting a big job. Hard work. We have to put a lot of things together if we want to lift up such a great club. It's very difficult when a great club is struggling like this."

Teenage centre-back Strahinja Pavlovic has been linked with Juventus, with reports claiming a deal for the 17-year-old star to join the Italian champions is virtually agreed.

Milosevic is not sure what the future holds for the in-demand defender, however, the former Real Zaragoza, Celta Vigo and Osasuna forward is reluctant to part with Partizan's prized asset so soon.

Asked about Pavlovic, Milosevic replied: "I don't know, but we started to talk immediately about reorganising the Partizan youth system, which was very successful in the past and it's very important for us in the future. There will be changes there.

"We will always have good young players. It's not good for us if we sell them when they're 19,20 - they're still young. We cannot reach the highest possible price and they're not finished. In that department, we can improve a lot."