Firing Squad: Seedorf and Moyes Among Europe's Most Under-Fire Managers
The spectre of relegation is becoming all too close and all too real for many European clubs.
This instalment of the Firing Squad looks at two managers whose sides are in life-and-death battles for top-flight football, and if points aren’t gleaned from upcoming matches, they could conceivably be sacked before the end of the season.
Rounding out our list are the bosses of a trio of clubs that, while safe from the threat of the drop, have woefully underperformed this term.
All five of the managers featured are fighting for their jobs, and over the following slideshow, we’ll rank them according to the likelihood of their getting the sack.
5. Tim Sherwood, Tottenham Hotspur
A come-from-behind win at home to Southampton seems to have earned Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood a bit of reprieve.
Sunday’s 3-2 victory halted Spurs’ most recent run of futility—a four-match winless skid that saw them lose to arch-rivals Arsenal and crash out of the Europa League.
Presently sixth in the English top flight, Sherwood’s side have nevertheless underperformed this season. Going into Sunday’s showdown with second-place Liverpool, they sit seven points back of the final Champions League position.
Sherwood’s team selections have often been baffling after replacing Andre Villas-Boas back in September, and if he doesn’t get it right at Anfield, a heavy defeat could be on the cards.
4. Clarence Seedorf, AC Milan
There were reports in both La Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport, as relayed by World Soccer Talk, that embattled AC Milan manager Clarence Seedorf faced the sack if his side failed to beat Fiorentina on Wednesday.
Thankfully for the former Netherlands international, Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli found the back of the net in a 2-0 win at Stadio Artemio Franchi. As a result, Seedorf holds onto his job for at least another week.
Seedorf has hardly had an easy time of it since replacing Massimiliano Allegri in January.
In fact, Milan are actually lower in the standings (they are presently 12th in Serie A) than they were when Allegri was given his pink slip.
3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cardiff City
If there’s a Premier League club that one could see sacking two managers over the course of a single season, it’s surely Cardiff City.
Hands-on owner Vincent Tan seems to create one controversy after another at the Welsh outfit. With his side sitting second from bottom in the Premier League with seven matches remaining, it would hardly be surprising if he pulled the plug on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer less than three months after appointing the Norwegian to replace Malky Mackay.
Going into Saturday’s crucial match away to relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff have posted just a single win from their last seven outings and are three points back of safety.
2. Juan Ignacio Martinez, Real Valladolid
Real Valladolid finished 14th in La Liga last season after previously winning promotion.
Currently 19th in the Spanish top flight, they’re facing the very real prospect of relegation this spring but still sit just two points back of Osasuna and safety.
Chairmen have been known to change managers in a desperate attempt to take their side above the drop, and Carlos Suarez Sureda is surely pondering just such a move at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.
Manager Juan Ignacio Martinez was hired to replace Miroslav Dukic back in June, and while Suarez has been patient, results just haven’t been there.
1. David Moyes, Manchester United
Would anyone be surprised if David Moyes failed to last a full season at Manchester United?
According to a Thursday report in the Telegraph, the former Everton boss is facing a mutiny at Old Trafford, with players said to be frustrated with the 50-year-old’s tactics and training methods.
Tuesday’s heavy defeat to Manchester City only heaped additional pressure on Moyes, and just nine months after replacing long-time United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, he has somehow turned the reigning Premier League champions into a mid-table outfit with only an outside chance at European football for next season.
The question no doubt on the minds of the club’s owners is whether or not to entrust a sizeable summer transfer kitty to a manager they might well have lost faith in.