Firing Squad: Van Marwijk, Paco, Allardyce and Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
Good news, Chris Hughton—you’re off the list.
Thanks to back-to-back clean sheets and four points from a possible six against Hull and Newcastle, Hughton’s Norwich City are 12th in the Premier League so the 55-year-old ends an extended stay on our Firing Squad instalment.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin also sees Armin Veh safely escorted from the line of fire, and both Werder Bremen’s Robin Dutt and Freiburg’s Christian Streich also earn some reprieve, thanks to last weekend’s results.
But the news isn’t so good for the four men replacing them in this ranking and, over the next five slides, we’ll examine each of them as well as the holdover from last week.
Here are five of the most under-pressure managers from Europe’s top leagues.
5. Bert Van Marwijk, Hamburg
Bert Van Marwijk’s September appointment as Hamburg manager was greeted with considerable optimism, but with the 2014 portion of the Bundesliga schedule underway, it would seem the former Netherlands boss has a relegation battle on his hands.
Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at home to Schalke extended Hamburg’s losing run to four matches—they’ve won just twice in the German top flight since the end of October.
The 61-year-old has admitted himself the club are fighting for top-flight "survival," as per Bundesliga.com.
4. Pascal Dupraz, Evian
Evian Thonon Gaillard last won a Ligue 1 match on December 4; since then they’ve been bounced from both the Coupe de La Ligue and the Coupe de France and have picked up just a single victory in all competitions.
Manager Pascal Dupraz—appointed at Parc des Sports in 2012—may not have much time left to turn things around at the Annecy club, and upcoming matches against lowly rivals Ajaccio and Montpellier could well be make or break for the 51-year-old.
3. Juan Ignacio Martinez, Real Valladolid
Real Valladolid picked up just their fourth win of the season last Saturday at home to Villarreal, but the Castile and Leon side are still third from bottom in La Liga and face an uphill battle if they hope to avoid relegation to the Segunda in the spring.
Last season’s respectable 14th-place finish is seen as the standard for manager Juan Ignacio Martinez, who replaced Miroslav Dukic in June, and without four points from upcoming matches against Getafe and Elche, he could well find himself relieved of his duties by early February.
2. Sam Allardyce, West Ham
West Ham have endeavoured to strengthen their squad this month with the additions of Antonio Nocerino and Abdul Razak, so if manager Sam Allardyce can’t string a series of results together he may be sacked in a last-ditch attempt to save the London club from relegation.
That said, Wednesday’s scoreless draw away to Chelsea will surely have done wonders for squad morale. Going into the weekend’s match at home to Swansea, the Hammers should be in as good a frame of mind as they’ve been in some time.
Encounters with Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton will follow, so Allardyce will be left with few excuses if he can’t get at least two results from those matches.
1. Paco Jemez, Rayo Vallecano
You get the feeling if Rayo Vallecano lose against Levante in Valencia on Saturday, it could be curtains for manager Paco Jemez.
The 43-year-old, who played with the club in two stints as a defender, has simply not been able to build on last season’s eighth-place finish. Going into the weekend, they sit 19th in La Liga and five points from safety.