Firing Squad: Van Marwijk, Meulensteen and Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
Michael Laudrup’s Tuesday sacking as Swansea manager came as a reminder that a prolonged run of poor results, especially when the spectre of relegation is becoming more and more of a reality, will often result in a change of personnel.
The five managers called into the yard for this installment of Firing Squad are not in dissimilar situations to that of Laudrup. Granted, they may be on better terms with their employers, but even the best relationship with a chairman is hardly a guarantee of job security when a drop in divisions is staring the club in the face.
From this point onward, we’ll be starting to see managerial changes inspired by a sole purpose: safety.
Following are five of the most under-pressure managers from Europe’s top leagues.
5. Pascal Dupraz, Evian
Evian were on their way to an absolutely vital Ligue 1 victory when they allowed last-place Ajaccio an equaliser in the final minute of normal time last Saturday.
As a result, Pascal Dupraz’s side will go into the weekend’s match away to Montpellier without a victory since December 4 and desperate to take all three points from an encounter with another relegation rival.
Appointed at Parc des Sports in 2012, the 51-year-old may find himself without a job if he can’t find a way to guide his side to a sixth win of the season at Stade de la Mosson.
4. Sam Allardyce, West Ham
West Ham picked up an absolutely vital 2-0 win at home to Swansea last weekend—a victory that ended up costing opposition manager Michael Laudrup his job.
A similar fate could be in store for Hammers boss Sam Allardyce if he can’t take maximum points from upcoming matches against Aston Villa and Norwich, and, given the recent additions of Antonio Nocerino, Marco Boriello and Abdul Razak, he finally has a bit of depth with which to work.
That said, Andy Carroll will be unavailable through suspension and the striker’s absence will likely make goals hard to come by once again for the 18th-place side at Villa Park on Saturday.
3. Bert Van Marwijk, Hamburg
If the Bundesliga season ended today, Hamburg—seven-time champions of the German top flight—would be relegated.
It’s a reality that hardly bodes well for manager Bert van Marwijk, who goes into Saturday’s match against Hertha Berlin on the back of successive 3-0 defeats to Schalke and Hoffenheim.
Hamburg have won just once since the end of October, and unless things can be turned around in a jiffy, it’s likely the once-proud club will be on the look out for a new manager in short order.
2. Paco Jemez, Rayo Vallecano
That Paco Jemez is still in charge of Rayo Vallecano following last weekend’s scoreless draw against Levante is, in itself, something of a surprise.
Vallecano are presently second from bottom in La Liga and five points adrift of safety, and a schedule that includes Malaga, Barcelona and Sevilla before the end of February is hardly promising.
Chairman Raul Martin Presa may well decide his only gamble remaining is to sack Jemez, who was appointed in 2012.
1. Rene Meulensteen, Fulham
While an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Rene Meulensteen had a hand in five Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League crown.
But a disastrous spell at Anzhi Makhachkala followed after Ferguson retired last spring, and his present gig at Fulham is likely to come to a similarly quick end unless he can pick up some wins—and fast.
The Cottagers are dead last in the Premier League after 24 rounds and, on Tuesday, bowed out of the FA Cup after losing 1-0 to visiting Sheffield United on their own patch.
Incidentally, their next match will be away to United on Sunday, where a defeat to his former side could well see Meulensteen replaced by Alan Curbishley, who has already been conducting Fulham training according to the Mirror.