Firing Squad: The Most Under-Pressure Managers from Europe's Top 5 Leagues
Many of club football’s embattled managers will have enjoyed the brief reprieve of the international break, but with matches set to resume at the weekend, they’ll be finding themselves back in the spotlight in short order.
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 either to build on or maintain the starts they’ve made to the season.
Managerial changes will be one of the things several of them ponder. Following are five individuals facing considerable pressure going into the weekend.
Armin Veh, Eintracht Frankfurt
Eintracht Frankfurt will host Schalke on Saturday and a loss to the Bundesliga heavyweights could be enough to seal Armin Veh’s fate.
After 12 Bundesliga matches, Eintracht are fourth from bottom in the table, just two points clear of outright relegation.
Losses to both Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Mainz in the week leading up to the international break served to heap even more pressure on Veh, who has overseen just a single league win since the middle of September.
Massimiliano Allegri, AC Milan
At least one AC Milan player is trying to take the pressure off embattled manager Massimiliano Allegri.
Alessandro Matri, in conversation with the club’s official television station, remarked that Allegri "cannot be blamed" for the Rossoneri’s poor start to the season and that it was the players who needed "to get the results on the field." (ESPN FC)
Of course, the striker’s words will mean little if 10th-place Milan are unable to beat lowly Chievo at the weekend.
Stefano Pioli, Bologna
Poor results against Chievo and Atalanta have increased the pressure on Bologna manager Stefano Pioli, and things are unlikely to get better in the immediate term given that Inter Milan are due to pay a visit to the 16th-placed side on Sunday.
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.
Pepe Mel, Real Betis
Sunday’s Seville derby is likely to be a make-or-break encounter for Pepe Mel.
The Real Betis boss has been unable to halt a shocking slide that has seen the Verdiblancos pick up just a single point from their last six La Liga matches.
Now dead-last in the Spanish top flight, Betis may look to replace Mel, who was appointed in 2010, if they can’t get back into the win column against their arch-rivals.
Chris Hughton, Norwich City
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Chris Hughton this weekend.
Newcastle manager from 2009 to 2010, the 54-year-old will return to St. James’ Park on Saturday for a match against the Magpies.
As if he needed any extra motivation.
Coming off an impressive campaign in which they finished 11th in the Premier League, Norwich City are presently just a single point above the relegation zone and Hughton, who succeeded the popular Paul Lambert as Canaries manager last season, may not be in his job much longer if he can’t turn things around—and fast.