There was a moment during Sunday's game against Santos that, more than any other, underlined Grêmio's impressive recent progress. Deep into the second half, striker Yuri Mamute – a substitute, as he has been for much of the season so far – found a bit of space inside the area and slid a finish between the legs of Vanderlei to put his side into a 3-1 lead. To celebrate, he eschewed the now-default group-prayer routine to sprint over to the Grêmio dugout to enjoy the moment - not with his teammates but with his coach.
Roger Machado has been a breath of fresh air at the Porto Alegre club since taking over at the end of May. Under his guidance, the Tricolor players have grown in belief, clawing their way up the Brasileirão table courtesy of a series of impressive results.
It is all a far cry from what went before. Luiz Felipe Scolari's reign had begin in promising fashion after the World Cup, with Grêmio staggeringly frugal in defence and capable of nicking matches with a single goal. But progress slowed in the latter stages of 2014 and ground to a halt earlier this year during an underwhelming Campeonato Gaúcho campaign.
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