Firing Squad: Sherwood, Seedorf Among Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
Sometimes, and perhaps more often than not, a manager simply needs a bit of time to get things right—to turn things around.
On our Firing Squad list through much of the season, Rayo Vallecano’s Paco Jemez managed to avoid the sack on numerous occasions before orchestrating a turnaround that suddenly has the Madrid outfit not only out of the relegation places but trending upwards in La Liga.
And so, quite appropriately, he no longer features on this inauspicious ranking.
Not that we haven’t been accurate before, of course.
The likes of Thomas Schneider, Bert van Marwijk, Pepe Mel, Rene Meulensteen, Massimiliano Ellegri and Alberto Malesani have all featured in this space at one time or another, and all have since walked the plank.
Following is the latest instalment of the Firing Squad—those managers who could well be next to lose their jobs.
But, as you’ll notice, Jemez is not among them.
5. Davide Ballardini, Bologna
Bologna could be poised to make a managerial change for the second time this season.
Since replacing Stefano Pioli at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara back in January, Davide Ballardini has delivered just one win from 10 matches while the seven-time Scudetto winners have sunk into the relegation quagmire.
Last weekend it was Livorno—who came into the match below Bologna in the standings and who have also been through several managers this season—who took three points off the Rossoblu, and on Sunday it could be Cagliari.
Surely Ballardini wouldn’t be around for their next away match against Chievo if that happened.
4. Christian Streich, Freiburg
It could be that last weekend’s 4-1 win away to Eintracht Frankfurt merely bought embattled Freiburg manager Christian Streich a little more time.
The win was Freiburg’s first since the last week of January—a stretch of seven matches—and didn’t even take them out of the Bundesliga’s danger-zone.
With nine rounds to play, the Brazilians of Breisgau—who finished fifth last season—are in the relegation playoff place and have vital encounters against Werder Bremen, Hamburg and Stuttgart fast approaching.
Each will be a sort of relegation derby, and it will be interesting to see how many of them Freiburg entrust to Streich.
3. Chris Hughton, Norwich City
Time continues to tick on Chris Hughton’s tenure at Norwich City.
Last weekend’s 4-2 loss to Southampton established a three-match winless skid in which the Canaries have allowed an embarrassing nine goals, and since a December 7 win away to West Bromwich Albion, they’ve picked up just a pair of wins.
Only Crystal Palace and Cardiff City have scored fewer goals than Norwich, and only Cardiff and Fulham have conceded more.
That’s a recipe for relegation, and it would hardly be surprising if the club axed Hughton for a late, desperate attempt at survival.
2. Clarence Seedorf, AC Milan
The Clarence Seedorf experiment has so far failed to show signs of working out at AC Milan.
Despite the much-ballyhooed appointment of the popular former Rossoneri midfielder just over two months ago, Milan have actually dropped in the table (they’re presently 11th) and are only a single point above 13th-placed Sampdoria ahead of Sunday’s encounter with Lazio.
They’ve also crashed out of the Champions League at the round of 16 and are currently on a four-match losing streak, having won just two of their last nine matches in all competitions.
Seedorf may be loved at the San Siro, but he seems equally incapable of engineering the turnaround Milan so desperately need.
1. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham Hotspur
It would surely be fascinating to be present at the hat when Tim Sherwood picks his team out of it.
The Tottenham Hotspur boss, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas back in December, seems to make his selections based on little more than whimsy, and in recent weeks the uptick in energy that accompanied his arrival has all but expired.
On Thursday, Sherwood’s Spurs side crashed out of the Europa League to Benfica—the 2-2 draw extending their winless run to four matches.
Since losing 5-1 to Manchester City at the end of January, the North London outfit has won just three of eight Premier League matches, all the while managing to appear increasingly incompetent.
Sherwood will surely pay the price. All that remains to be seen is whether club chairman Daniel Levy gives him until the end of the season before making a change.