5 managers of big teams in danger of losing their jobs

The managers of a few high profile teams haven’t performed to the level expected of them and this has raised speculations about their future. Some of them have won major trophies with their current side and are still running out of time to turn things around.

#5. Joachim Löw – Germany

Germany’s World Cup winning manager may not be in charge of the team when they take the field in next month’s international break.

Joachim Löw cuts the figure of a man bereft of ideas and unable to make a team out of the talented individuals at his disposal which is very unlike the German team we were used to under his tutelage.

Germany went into the 2018 World Cup as defending Champions and was knocked out in the group stage after losing to Mexico and South Korea. Löw faced criticism for his team selection in Russia as he left out Leroy Sane from the squad after a fantastic season at the club level and then left Marc-André ter Stegen on the bench to start Manuel Neuer in goal despite the latter playing only playing four games in 2017/18 due to injury.

Before their most recent defeat, at the hands of France, Germany was on a run of three competitive games without scoring for the first time in their history. In 2018, the Germans played 11 games, won three, lost six and drew two. Only one of Germany’s victories was in a competitive game.

Is it time for a new face at the helm of one of the most successful teams in international football?

#4. Ernesto Valverde – Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde won the domestic double last season with Barcelona and nearly won the league undefeated. However, his pragmatic approach to the game hasn’t endeared him to the Barca fans.

Valverde used a four-man midfield last season and he got results with this system even though the style of play was a far cry from the free-flowing football associated with Barcelona. This season, he shifted to a 4-3-3 system to accommodate Ousmane Dembele into the starting lineup but results haven’t gone his way.

Although Barcelona is still second in the league table, they are currently without a win in four La Liga games. They drew three of those games with two of those draws coming in home games and their only defeat so far coming at the hands of bottom-placed Leganes. To make matters difficult for Valverde, he only has two fit centre-backs available till December. 

Another factor contributing to the case being built against Valverde is his treatment of certain players. He has hardly used their summer signing Malcom and promising La Masia graduates like Carles Aleñá are not even getting a look in.

#3. Niko Kovač – Bayern Munich

Niko Kovac took over as Bayern Munich manager in the summer after an impressive season with Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of which he beat Bayern in the DFB-Pokal final.

The Croat was given the task of returning Bayern to its former glory after a couple of below-par seasons for their standards despite winning the Bundesliga. He started his tenure brightly with seven straight wins across four competitions and the start of this run was a 5-0 win over his former club in the DFL-Supercup.

After a strong start, the Bavarian side is now without a win in four games. They picked up one point in the previous three league games and lost the previous two games without scoring while conceding a combined five goals. Their most recent defeat was by three goals to nil against Borussia Monchengladbach at home. In the Champions League, they were outplayed in a home game by Ajax in a 1-1 draw.

The current poor run is only four games long and one can argue that Bayern can swiftly turn things around given the quality of their team but it looks like Kovac has already fallen out with his players. Apparently, senior figures of the side are unhappy with his rotation policy and team selection.

The Bayern board has backed the manager in recent interviews but time is quickly running out for Kovac.

#2. Julen Lopetegui – Real Madrid

Julen Lopetegui is another manager who took over at a major European team in the summer facing an uncertain future. The former Spain manager was deemed worthy of replacing Zinedine Zidane who won an unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League titles with the Los Blancos. The defending European Champions also sold Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer and that only made Lopetegui’s task even more daunting.

The Spaniard’s first competitive game in charge of Real Madrid was the UEFA Super Cup match against rivals Atletico Madrid. Atletico won the game 4-2 after extra time to inflict Real’s first defeat of the season. 

After the Super Cup, Real Madrid seemed to be adapting to Lopetegui’s philosophy and went on a run of five wins and one draw. During this run, they scored 15 goals and this led many to believe that Ronaldo wasn’t missed.

However, now, Real Madrid are without a win or a goal in four games and have lost three of those games. They were subjected to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against Sevilla and a shock 1-0 loss to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

Lopetegui will be under pressure to turn things around but if he doesn’t win the El Clasico on 28 October, then he might be sacked for the second time this year. 

#1. Jose Mourinho – Manchester United

For a team that has dominated the Premier League era, Manchester United are currently on a league title drought for their own standards. Jose Mourinho was expected to be the man to lead United back to the glory days and the Portuguese managed delivered three trophies in his debut season despite finishing sixth in the league and being constantly criticized for the style of play.

The criticism of United’s style of play still persists but the results haven’t gone their way this season. After a trophyless season in 2017/18 during which a friction erupted between Mourinho and his star player Paul Pogba, there was pressure on Mourinho to deliver big this season.

However, after a poor summer transfer window which clearly annoyed Jose Mourinho, things have gone from bad to worse. United are currently eighth in the league table with 13 points and lost against Brighton, West Ham and at home to Spurs. They were also knocked out from the League Cup by Championship side Derby County in another home game.

Mourinho’s statements and reactions in the aftermath of these results haven’t helped his case either. The 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle United right before the international break may have saved Mourinho’s job for now but the game against Chelsea after the break will be crucial.