Firing Squad: The Most Under-Pressure Managers from Europe's Top 5 Leagues
One of the club managers lined up in last week’s installment of the firing squad took a bullet earlier this week (Chievo’s Giuseppe Sannino), but despite the freshened-up roster in the next few slides, it would hardly be surprising if one or two more were removed from their jobs before the end of the month.
Each of Europe’s top five leagues has surpassed its quarter-pole, so the decision-makers at every one of the 98 clubs in question will by now have a good sense of what needs to be done to either build on or maintain the starts they’ve made to the season.
Managerial changes will be one of the things several of them ponder, and following are five individuals facing considerable pressure going into the international break.
Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan
Massimiliano Allegri has been on this list since the start of the season, so one thing that can’t be underestimated is his considerable staying power.
The AC Milan manager remains in charge of the Rossoneri despite a disastrous first quarter of the campaign that has seen the San Siro outfit win just a single match since September and enter the international break ranked 10th in Serie A.
That Mario Balotelli seems to have once again lost his way has hardly helped Allegri’s cause, and at this point, you’ve got to think a loss at home to Genoa on November 23 would spell the end of the 46-year-old at the club.
Armin Veh, Eintracht Frankfurt
After 12 Bundesliga matches, Eintracht Frankfurt are fourth from bottom in the table, just two points clear of outright relegation.
Losses to both Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Mainz last week served to heap even more pressure on manager Armin Veh, who has overseen just a single league win since the middle of September.
Appointed at Commerzbank-Arena in 2011, it’s possible the 52-year-old has already overstayed his welcome, and a massive test at home to Schalke on November 23 could prove the final nail in his coffin.
Pepe Mel, Real Betis
Just how much longer can this go on?
Thumped 4-1 by Barcelona last weekend, Real Betis are now dead last in La Liga, having taken just a single point from their last six matches.
Manager Pepe Mel, who has faced the sack on numerous occasions since his appointment in 2010, is running out of lives, and just as the pressure becomes unsustainable, he faces the prospect of a Seville derby on November 24.
Stefano Pioli, Bologna
Promoted back to Serie A in 2008, seven-time champions Bologna have no desire to go back to Serie B anytime soon.
The thing is, if their form doesn’t improve—and soon—that’s exactly where they’re headed.
After 12 matches, the Rossoblu are 16th in the Italian top flight and only a single point above the relegation places.
Manager Stefano Pioli looked to have turned things around with back-to-back wins at the end of October, but a draw at home to Chievo followed by a 2-1 defeat away to Atalanta have piled the pressure on the 48-year-old once again.
Chris Hughton, Norwich City
Last weekend’s 3-1 win at home against West Ham likely earned embattled manager Chris Hughton a few more weeks in charge of Norwich City, but the reality is that after a season in which the Canaries finished 11th in the table, a relegation scrap is hardly what they have in mind for the stretch this time around.
Hughton, 54, succeeded the popular Paul Lambert in 2012, but with just three wins from 11 matches this term, his side are only a point above the relegation places going into the international break.
Robert Snodgrass may have said the entire team was to blame for a poor run of form (ESPN FC), but the reality is Hughton would be the first man to take the fall if things deteriorated further.