Firing Squad: Hughton, Corini, Schneider and Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
The spectre of relegation is becoming very real, and drawing ever closer, for some unlikely clubs this season.
In this instalment of the Firing Squad, we visit the danger-zones of England, Germany, Italy and Spain, knowing full well the managers we highlight this week may be out of their jobs when we reconvene.
Rene Meulensteen is proof enough of that.
Despite a narrow loss to Liverpool in the Premier League—a result that came shortly after an impressive draw away to Manchester United—the Fulham boss was given the boot and replaced by Felix Magath, ending his long tenure on this inauspicious ranking.
Following are five of the most under-pressure managers from Europe’s top leagues.
5. Christian Streich, Freiburg
Freiburg finished fifth in the Bundesliga last season and qualified for the Europa League. They were never supposed to be fighting relegation just a few months later.
But as of the third week of February that’s exactly where they find themselves.
Sixteenth in the 18-team German top flight; the Breisgau-Brasilianer are sitting in the division’s relegation play-off place after 21 rounds and are just two points clear of the automatic drop.
Manager Christian Streich, appointed in 2011, may well need victories against both Augsburg and Hertha Berlin in upcoming matches if he hopes to take this team any further.
4. Paco Jemez, Rayo Vallecano
Somehow, some way, Paco Jemez has so far avoided the sack at Rayo Vallecano.
Installed at El Campo in 2012, the popular former defender took the side he once played for to a surprising eighth-place finish last term, but with just 14 matches remaining this time around the Franjirrojos are second from bottom in La Liga and four points clear of safety.
That he is still in his job following last weekend’s 6-0 drubbing away to Barcelona is astonishing, but defeats in upcoming home appointments with Sevilla and Valencia would certainly seal his fate.
Of course, we've said that before.
3. Chris Hughton, Norwich City
An embarrassing loss away to West Ham on February 11 left Norwich City with just a single victory since the first week of December—a run of 11 matches.
Yet, manager Chris Hughton set to work preparing for Sunday’s encounter at home to Tottenham.
Another defeat could well see the likeable 55-year-old sacked from his Carrow Road post. Just this week the club’s chief executive, David McNally, told the Eastern Daily Press, as per ESPN FC, that it would be “delinquent” of him to not at least consider a change of manager.
2. Eugenio Corini, Chievo
Last May, after Chievo Verona had finished a respectable 12th in Serie A, manager Eugenio Corini departed the club through mutual consent.
He returned just six months later after Giuseppe Sannino was sacked, but with the Gialloblu sitting second from bottom in Serie A after 24 matches the 43-year-old could be headed for his second exit from Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in less than a year.
Going into Sunday’s relegation derby at home to Catania, Chievo are winless in nine and just a single point above last-place Sassuolo.
1. Thomas Schneider, Stuttgart
The Bundesliga’s relegation fight will involve some surprising clubs over the next few weeks and months, and with Hamburg having sacked Bert van Marwijk earlier in the week it could well be that Stuttgart’s Thomas Schneider is the next to go.
Schneider, who replaced Bruno Labbadia back in August, has overseen only five wins from 18 matches so far this season. Ahead of Saturday’s match at home to Hertha Berlin, Die Roten are just a single point above the relegation play-off place and three points clear of the automatic drop.
They've also lost successive matches by a 4-1 scoreline and have posted just a single victory since the second week of November.