Managers’ Sack Race: Who’s Next After Mourinho And Benitez?

The cliché that there are two types of coaches, the ones sacked and the ones waiting to be sacked, was typified on Monday night when Real Madrid confirmed the departure of Rafa Benitez as manager of the club.

This followed the 2-2 draw against Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday night and before that, the Copa Del Rey error of fielding ineligible Denis Cheryshev against Cadiz.

Chelsea in December also fired Jose Mourinho after a disappointing run of games with the Premier League champions. He has since been replaced by another former Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, albeit on an interim basis.

Bayern Munich have since confirmed that Carlo Ancelloti will replace departing Pep Guardiola who is considered the likeliest choice as Manuel Pellegrini's successor at Manchester City.

However the Chilean is expected to continue in charge at the Etihad Stadium until at least, the end of the season.

In this piece Completesportsnigeria.com’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI looks at the five other managers who could also be sacked in the coming days and weeks.


Manchester United have had a topsy-turvy season in the Barclays Premier League.  The Red Devils defeated Swansea 2-1 at Old Trafford last Saturday to claim their first win in six league games (including three defeats, two draws).

The team isn’t scoring enough goals as the decision of Louis van Gaal to sell the pair of Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez has turned out to be a big mistake on his part.

Captain Wayne Rooney thankfully scored in the Swansea defeat but it is not out of place to argue that the England international is fast passing his sell-by date.

Van Gaal’s tactics have also been called to question as he makes inexplicable changes and his team have been accused of having possession of the ball but without meaningful penetrative play.

United are known to be a team that had world class midfielders and strikers supported by their pacey wingers but it is either that Van Gaal’s philosophy has failed to yield dividends or that the players he has spent close to £300m on are not just good enough.
Intriguingly some of the harshest criticisms Van Gaal has had to deal with came from past players of the team, mostly those who played under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Whatever the side of the divide observers stand, the United board’s patience will run out with Van Gaal if the team’s form dips once again.
With the amount of money spent by Van Gaal since he became the United boss,  certainly the maligned and sacked David Moyes , before him, who was seen as  not commanding the charisma and clout to handle Manchester United players and their giant egos at the club deserves a big apology.

Perhaps the biggest issue Ferguson’s successors faced was the state of the squad they inherited. Added to poor signings, United aren’t the title favourites this season but nonetheless are expected to finish in the top 4.

That, though, is not enough for United’s standards, who by the way, will play in the Round of 32 of the Europa League from February rather than in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

Already there are talks of Jose Mourinho being the favourite for the United job which is dividing the club's fans.



Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville was appointed the coach of La Liga side Valencia much to the shock of many football fans around the world.

Neville became a television pundit after his glorious football career and was a popular one at that but his stint at Valencia  so far has been far from impressive.  

Valencia have not won a game in six matches and although his contract with the team terminates at the end of this season, he is unlikely to be handed an extension.

What however might happen even before the end of the campaign is the termination of Neville’s contract if results do not improve.

It seems his coming to the Mestalla was to stabilize the ship and let any of the supposedly bigger coaches take charge when they become available.

Valencia however produced a promising performance on Sunday night when they held Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw but the jury is still on the former England international.

Neville has said he hopes to continue as manager of Valencia but his earlier comments that he does not foresee himself staying on the long term in management must have been noted by his employers.

A scenario is playing itself out here. Two coaches who are familiar with the terrain in Spain are the likely candidates for Neville’s job.

Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini and sacked Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho , are the most likely replacements  to take over from Neville sometime soon unless performances and results improve rapidly.  

Mourinho could be tasked with the responsibility of making Valencia one of Europe’s leading clubs once again.

The club became a selling club and shipped off lots of world class players like Juan Mata (a former Chelsea player who was never in Mourinho’s good books), Alvaro Negredo amongst others.

With Chelsea forcing him to climb down from his high horse, a move to Spain will be a new lease of life and fresh challenge for the once special but now humbled one.


Newcastle United are just two places above Sunderland and Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League table which could flatter to deceive the most optimistic of Geordies fans but the job of manager Steve Mclaren could be on the line with some poor results in the coming weeks.

The team have some potential banana peels as fixtures coming up with games against Manchester United, West Ham United, Watford (who they face on Saturday in the FA Cup) and Everton.

Mclaren has never been a popular coach in his homeland as the most unforgiving English fans still remember the ill-fated qualification of the Three Lions to the Euro 2008 finals when he was in charge.

So with the managerial merry-go round reaching fever pitch, expect the sacking of the coach who claimed he has been toughened by his firing whilst in charge of England when his Tyneside club was bottom of the table after just three games at the start of the season.  

"When you have worked with the national team, you never get bigger batterings than that. I could have worked the next day (after being sacked by England). Get back on the horse and work the next day. That’s what I wanted to do.

“It was a massive blow to my confidence and belief, but I still had that… I felt I had a lot to do and prove. I was only 44, 45, at the time, so I knew I was only young. I had to recover.

“Don’t get me wrong, after England I had dark days and dark moments, and dark spells, ups and downs, here, there and everywhere. But I always believed, given the opportunity, I wanted to manage a big club like this again. I’ve done that now."

Don’t get too excited, Steve. The ‘smiling’ Mike Ashley could still hand you the dreaded vote of confidence. 

Unless the team starts picking up wins and get out of the relegation zone, expect Mclaren to be in the hunt for another coaching job before May 2016. He has been a nomadic coach with Newcastle United his 10th club as coach (either as chief coach or assistant).

If or when this happens, expect three names to prop up as leading candidates to take charge of the club: Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Henri Mitchel (with former club goalkeeper Shay Given as one of the backroom staff).


Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce could face the sack at Sunderland with the club just above Aston Villa.

The Black Cats may be above Aston Villa but not many expect Remi Garde to be under intense scrutiny as his signing at the bottom-placed club was seen as a sort of salvation for the sinking side. 

Allardyce however is considered as a manager with requisite experience in the Barclays Premier League to steer them out of trouble but that apparently is not the case.

Incidentally they defeated Villa in their last EPL game and now face a daunting task against Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

With the fixtures piling up, Allardyce seems to have a perfect excuse should his team lose against the Gunners who are the defending champions. He has already warned of fielding a weakened side against Arsene Wenger’s men.

If Allardyce fails to cause an FA Cup upset against Arsenal this weekend and goes on to lose vital games against Swansea, Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Manchester City, then the gum-chewing manager could be out of a job even before the end of the season.

Sunderland are not favourites to win the FA Cup game this weekend against Arsenal. And on the strength of Swansea’s team, it could be argued that the Welsh side with caretaker manager Alan Curtis in charge will likely win that game.

Allardyce could be sacked before the end of the season.



Despite understandably coming to a supposedly sinking ship, Remi Garrde could still face the sack if Aston Villa get a confirmation from a manager (between now and May) with better ratings in England that he will be with the team in the Championship next season, Garde will likely be 'thanked for a job well done.' Such a coach could be with the team for the remainder of the season.

Garde is likely to be asked to leave the club for another manager to come in but there will be no ill feelings here. The former Lyon coach came to a club with not too many quality players to work with.

The departure of a player like Christian Benteke will always hurt a team and the Villians do not really have the resources to get the best football stars around Europe.



Stefano Pioli has had a disappointing season with Lazio.  The Biancocelesti have not won a Serie A game in their last six matches.

They will face Carpri, Fiorentina, Chievo, Udinese and Napoli in their next league fixtures and Pioli will be desperate to avoid getting fired before the end of the season.

Capri defeated Fiorentina 1-0 in the Coppa Italia on December 16, 2015, which tells that the team could dent the hopes of supposedly stronger sides.

Only four points currently separate the five teams at the summit of the table in Italy and with Lazio seen as a mid-table team but one capable of upsetting the top guns in Serie A, his job could be attractive to a few top coaches in Europe looking for their next job.

Lazio will not sack Pioli if he turns around the fortunes of the club after three losses, two draws and a win in their last six games but another losing streak will see the axing of the former Bologna coach who could be replaced by a legend of Italian football, Marcelo Lippi, said to be the ideal candidate for the job for Lazio president Claudio Lotito.

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