Ligue 1: four coaches fired in five days, "and we're not going to stop there", predicts Eric Roy

Ligue 1: four coaches fired in five days, “and we’re not going to stop there”, predicts Eric Roy

It is obviously a time to take out a technician. In the space of five days, four clubs have changed managers, or sacked their current coach: something unheard of in Ligue 1. With a special season in more ways than one (four races, Winter World Cup), the clubs seem less reluctant to blow their first fuse, and this after only ten days. Peter Bosz in Lyon, Jean-Marc Furlan in Auxerre, Michel Der Zakarian in Brest and on Thursday, October 13, Oscar García in Reims, the waltz began at a frenetic pace. And according to our consultant Eric Roy, former OGC Nice player and tactician, this isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Óscar García is the fourth coach fired or dismissed in five days, does a series like this surprise you?

Eric Roy: The amazing thing is this domino effect. It is the number relative to the elapsed time. But surprised on the merits, not really. Clubs in France are already suffering from sporting instability related to many factors. This year there are more races than last season with 18 clubs in 2023, it only exacerbates this instability. The championship is so homogeneous that there are practically 10-12 clubs that are affected by relegation. As soon as things start badly for a team, the easy solution is to change. With the sword of Damocles of the four descents, that the clubs are even less patient and translate their fears into repeated looting, it is something that I imagined.

Isn’t it paradoxical to have so much density in the last third of the standings, where a victory can take you up several places, and to be so impatient?

Yes, and all the more true is that of the four teams currently relegated, only one has changed coach. But we heard that Antoine Kombouaré is in danger in Nantes, that Gérald Baticle is also in Angers… It wouldn’t be having one or two more points that would change the situation. In Reims, we talk about Garcia’s personal problems, there is the unforgivable gesture of Jean-Marc Furlan in Auxerre, but don’t we give ourselves the same conscience to find the right reasons to change? And it seems obvious to me that we are not going to stop there. On arrival there may be between six and eight clubs that will change.

(JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

Is it a good time to change coach?

From time to time, psychological shock can come into play and be a solution. For him to play, the club, the entire institution must do the correct analysis to find out if there was a fracture between the coach and his group. And it’s not always easy to determine. We do not know the environment from the inside, but many times it is due to a crisis of results. And the four clubs that changed managers have not won any of their last five games. The only “exception” is Lyon, whose fear is not to go down, but not to be at the top of the table.

For clubs, is it better to decide after ten days but with a series of matches to relive, or to be patient and take advantage of the World Cup period to have time to work behind the scenes?

When you are a coach, you make a work plan for the whole year, especially sports. This season, the planning is quite simple: a classic first part and then a second with a big cut that gives you time to redo your preparation. I think that many clubs have in mind this option of waiting for the break to change, like Nice where Lucien Favre was in trouble. On the other hand, each passing game is lost points. You could also have four or five games to play for a new coach to get a clearer picture of your team and make it work as you see fit. Then you have the time of the truce and the transfer window to adapt your squad. There is no right and wrong choice. Only the result tells you.

How difficult is it to find replacements, available coaches at this point in the season?

Nowadays there are some free coaches capable of doing it well: Jocelyn Gourvennec, Christophe Pélissier, Sabri Lamouchi… The temptation of foreign coaches exists, but the more you get involved in your championship, the less time you have to react and that is more difficult with the language barrier and the assimilation time of the French championship. When you change, it is to have an immediate impact. What would be fun would be for the managers who have just been sacked to be hired by a club that is changing managers. On the contrary, he is not sure that any club is looking for Peter Bosz and Óscar García.


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