Firing Squad: Hughton, Allardyce and Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
Premier League managers figure heavily in this installment of the Firing Squad.
With 21 matches already in the books, the club owners and administrators will by now have almost certainly determined their targets for the spring, whether winning the title, qualifying for Europe or merely avoiding relegation.
It’s in the English top flight’s relegation battle that we find two of the managers in this ranking, while two more can be located near the bottom of the Bundesliga, which restarts next weekend.
The other is unlikely to be sacked at all but could be poised to leave his current club nonetheless.
Following are the five managers from Europe’s top leagues most likely to be looking for work in the near future.
5: Mauricio Pochettino, Southampton
The sudden exit of Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese has suddenly brought the future of Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino into doubt, and on Thursday the Argentine addressed his position at a press conference.
“It was clear that I was thinking about many things [after Cortese’s exit],” he told reporters, as relayed by David Hytner of The Guardian. But, he added, “It is normal that my commitment is to the club and the players in the middle of the season. It would make no sense for me to leave this club in the middle of the season.”
That said, just how Pochettino gets on with incoming chairwoman Katharina Liebherr is yet to be seen, and the early days of their relationship will likely determine whether or not the 41-year-old decides to see out the campaign at St. Mary’s.
4. Christian Streich, Freiburg
Freiburg entered the winter break in the Bundesliga’s relegation play-off place, and their first two matches after the restart will be at home to high-flying Bayer Leverkusen and away to a solid Mainz outfit ranked ninth in the standings.
Streich may have to take four points from those two matches in order to stay in his job.
Freiburg finished fifth in the German top flight last season, and chairman Fritz Keller may decide Streich, who has managed the club since 2011, has taken it as far as he possibly can.
3: Armin Veh, Eintracht Frankfurt
Just a single point above Freiburg in the Bundesliga table are Eintracht Frankfurt, who are facing the real possibility of relegation following a sixth-place finish in 2012-13.
Like Streich, Frankfurt manager Armin Veh has been with the club since 2011, and with Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich first on the schedule for 2014, the 52-year-old may quickly find he has run out of time at Commerzbank-Arena.
Going into next weekend Eintracht have won just once in the Bundesliga since the middle of September—a run of 12 matches.
2. Chris Hughton, Norwich
The ease with which struggling Fulham dispatched Norwich from the FA Cup this week will have hardly done Chris Hughton’s job prospects any favours.
The embattled Canaries boss has now gone eight matches in all competitions without a win, which means Saturday’s match at home to Hull City could be make-or-break for him.
A loss at Carrow Road, combined with positive results from several teams below them in the standings, could see Norwich in the relegation places by next week, in which case it’s likely Hughton would be sacked.
1. Sam Allardyce, West Ham
You get the feeling Sam Allardyce’s West Ham future is hanging by a thread.
Yes, the Hammers’ 2-0 win away to Cardiff last Saturday may have bought the 59-year-old some time, but the London club remain level with the relegation-placed Bluebirds through 21 rounds and are just a single point off the bottom of the table.
Upcoming matches against Newcastle and Chelsea are unlikely to deliver much in the way of points, so it follows that Allardyce may already be on his ninth life at the Boleyn Ground.