Firing Squad: The Most Under-Pressure Managers from Europe's Top 5 Leagues

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterDecember 19, 2013

Firing Squad: The Most Under-Pressure Managers from Europe's Top 5 Leagues

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    Three more managers were taken in front of the firing squad this past week, bringing December’s casualty count from Europe’s top five leagues to six.

    No doubt one or two more of their former, under-pressure colleagues will also be facing the music in the coming days.

    With schedules nearing their halfway points, club owners and chairmen by now have clear pictures of what their squads actually are—and if their current managers are the ones to guide them.

    The following are five individuals who could well be removed from their jobs by the time the firing squad is next called into action.

Stefano Pioli, Bologna

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    Having gone out of the Coppa Italia earlier this month, Bologna are now facing the very real threat of relegation unless results can be reversed immediately.

    Without a Serie A victory since the end of October, the Rossoblu sit second from bottom in the Italian top flight and will finish the 2013 portion of their schedule on Sunday at home to Genoa.

    Lose, and it’s quite likely manager Stefano Pioli will find himself unemployed.

Robin Dutt, Werder Bremen

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    The plan was for Werder Bremen to bounce back from a 7-0 drubbing at home to Bayern Munich with a resounding win against Hertha Berlin in the German capital.

    They lost 3-2, and going into their final match before the last week of January—against second-place Bayer Leverkusen—they sit just five points clear of the relegation playoff spot.

    Not surprisingly, manager Robin Dutt is feeling the heat at the Weserstadion, and it doesn’t bode well for him that his side have now conceded at least three goals in six of their last seven matches.

Juan Ignacio Martinez, Real Valladolid

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    Real Valladolid got a vital 3-0 win against Celta Vigo on December 16, but just three days later they lost to Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey and have now scored one goal or fewer in four of their last five outings in all competitions.

    Manager Juan Ignacio Martinez has only been at the club for six months, but it’s likely his future could hinge on this weekend’s match against Espanyol.

    Valladolid are presently 16th in La Liga—just two points clear of the relegation places.

Armin Veh, Eintracht Frankfurt

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    An impressive win against Bayer Leverkusen may not be enough to save Armin Veh, whose Eintracht Frankfurt side sit only four points above the Bundesliga’s relegation playoff spot.

    That said, another victory before the new year would go a long way toward ensuring the 52-year-old is still in his job in 2014, which is why Eintracht’s December 26 match at home to Hoffenheim might be their biggest of the season.

    Win it and Veh will have bought himself a bit of time in 2014. Lose it and he could well get the sack.

Malky Mackay, Cardiff City

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    Promoted Cardiff City are presently a respectable 15th in the Premier League and four points clear of the relegation zone.

    Nevertheless, manager Malky Mackay has been told to resign or face the sack by club owner Vincent Tan, according to David Ornstein of the BBC.

    Tan’s email message to Mackay is reported to have laid out several grievances, including the 41-year-old’s transfer requests and style of play.