El Centrocampista


Football has become a business of instant gratification, the days of managers being given time to build a squad long gone.

Three year plans have been replaced with six-month models as  boards continue to demand quick success.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a number of La Liga managers are already teetering on the brink, despite the fact that the season is not yet three months old.

Ex-Real Mallorca boss Michael Laudrup was the first coach to leave his post, but the Dane resigned and therefore avoids the tag of “first sacking of the season.”

The mantle is up for grabs and bookies are doing a roaring trade on who the unfortunate person will be.

There are a number of candidates  in the running for the most unwanted title in football management, here are the most obvious;

Gregorio Manzano

The ex-Sevilla boss was seen by some as a bizarre appointment when he was named manager of Atletico Madrid last summer. Despite leading Real Mallorca to the brink of the Champions League, Manzano was unable to deliver success to Sevilla last season.

For that reason, many Spanish football commentators saw his appointment at the Vicente Calderon as a backwards appointment. And it has to be said, Manzano has done little so far to defy those critics.

Big spending during the pre-season led to high expectations of Manzano’s Atletico, but so far he has been unable to deliver, with four wins, four draws and four loses so far.

Pepe Mel

Mel’s is a peculiar case. Having led Betis back to the promise land, his team made a stunning start to life back in the top flight, with 4 straight wins on the bounce.

However, that fantastic start has been followed by a pathetic one point from a possible 24. And that has led to questions being raised over the Real Betis manager’s future.

Top players like Ruben Castro and Roque Santa Cruz, who started the season so well, have disappeared and, despite being the early pacesetters, Betis now sit in 13th spot. It may seem more than a little ludicrous that Mel is on the ropes after his good work last season and at the beginning of the current season, but that is the game’s current climate.

Another few bad results and Mel could be out of a job before the New Year.

Philippe Montanier

The Frenchman is most people’s favourite to become season 2011/2012’s first casualty. His Real Sociedad side have been quite woeful so far this term and currently sit in 19th position.

Montanier has failed to get the best out of talented players like Joseba Llorente and Antoine Griezmann and the Basques appear to already be in a very real relegation scrap.

It seems just a matter of time before Montanier is put out of his misery and a bad result this weekend away to fellow strugglers Betis could seal his fate.

Other managers who just missed out on my dreaded shortlist are: Manuel Preciado, Marcelinho and Hector Cuper.

Whoever is unlucky enough to win La Liga’s sack race, I think the most would agree that it is pretty ridiculous that managers are being sacked so soon into a season.

When you consider that Montanier and Cuper only joined their new clubs during the summer, you begin to understand just how difficult it is to be a manager in the best league in the world.


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