Every year around Christmas, the parties and the holiday seasons begin in full flow. But, it’s not always a festive season at many Premier League clubs as it is that time of the year the club hierarchies will have to make tough decisions to save their season. And that almost always means getting rid of their managers.
Based on the poor run of form or bad results, these managers get the boot. New managers come, some turn around the season while some fail to do so. But this managerial shift goes on heavily around the Christmas almost every season, so much so that this has become almost a tradition in England. And it’s likely to continue this season as well with the winter transfer window opening.
FOX Sports Asia looks at three such managers whose jobs are at some serious risk come this Christmas. Or worse, even before that!
3. MARK HUGHES (Southampton)
When Southampton appointed Mark Hughes as the head coach earlier this season, things were expected of him. A Premier League player himself, the veteran coach has gone through almost everything the Premier League has to offer. But that has not been the case at all for The Saints. With just one win from nine games, Southampton is just above the relegation zone. But their form is causing quite some worries amongst the Saints faithful and everyone at the club.
Apart from their only win against Crystal Palace, Southampton have looked lacklustre. They seem to be out of ideas in front of goal. And their defence is leaking goals left, right and centre. It has not been an easy return for Hughes by any means. And signs are not good for them at all. They have lost against Wolves which underlines that anyone can get the better of the Saints. With just six goals scored and 14 conceded, Southampton is looking down the barrel. If things don’t improve soon, Hughes might very well be shown the door come Christmas.
2. RAFA BENITEZ (Newcastle United)
The start of the 2018-19 Premier League season may very well be the worst start to a season for Newcastle United. They are now rock bottom of the table and are still to win a match. Just two points from nine games, The Magpies find themselves in all sorts of trouble. And it just gets worse off the field. Owner Mike Ashley has been having rows with manager Rafa Benitez. With nothing going right, the fans are becoming more restless by the day, calling for the sacking of Benitez and even Ashley.
Newcastle have scored only six this season and conceded 14. Their defence is in absolute tatters and it has taken a serious toll on their progress. They are already out of the EFL Cup losing to Nottingham Forest. And everything indicates the end of a two-and-a-half year journey with Newcastle for Benitez. It’s understandable that if things don’t improve, Newcastle will once again go down. But with how they are playing now, Benitez may not be at the helm next season.
1. JOSE MOURINHO (Manchester United)
The pressure just keeps on piling for Manchester United. Despite being one of the richest clubs in the world and having a full summer to ponder and strengthen the squad, The Red Devils haven’t done so and it has certainly come back to haunt them. The poor run of form has been just one of the many, many negatives United have had to deal with this season. And the man who has come under massive criticism is the manager Jose Mourinho.
Multiple rows with the likes of Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw, publicly criticising the board and the players — these are only a couple of problems Mourinho has arose at United. And this season has been one full of disappointments for the Portuguese. In the United dugout, Mourinho looks like a frustrated man who does not enjoy football anymore. His press conferences are full of rows with journalists and other unfriendly incidents.
He was primed to be sacked when United drew against Wolverhampton Wanderers and lost against the likes of Derby County and Brighton. An inspiring victory against Newcastle United showed signs of rejuvenation, but draw against Chelsea and a home loss against Juventus in the Champions League has put all the pressure back on Mourinho.
They now sit 10th on the table, something that was unheard of even before this season. On the pitch, United look out of ideas. And if results don’t improve, Jose might very well be gone before Christmas.