As European football draws to a close, the inevitable managerial terminations will occur once the teams end their 2015 campaigns. Some of these firings are to be expected, but others will come out of nowhere. Let’s take a look at the managers most likely to be replaced once the season comes to a close.
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City
In his first season, Chilean-born Manuel Pellegrini managed to win two trophies for Manchester City, including the Football League Cup and Premier League title. But for current ownership, the past will not be enough to overlook what has been a dismal campaign in 2015.
The final straw might have been a 4-2 drubbing against rival Manchester United at Old Trafford in a derby match that saw City embarrassed in the second half. While they are still in contention for a Champions League spot next season, it would seem more likely that they will be competing for the Europa League title in 2016. Several names have already been touted to replace Pellegrini next season, including Diego Simeone, Pep Guardiola, Rafael Benitez and Patrick Vieira. But for the beleaguered Pellegrini, it seems his bags are already being packed for him.
Filippo Inzaghi, AC Milan
“Pippo” had a great career as a striker at Milan, but too often that is not enough to achieve success as a manager, at least in the top divisions of Europe.
The man who Sir Alex Ferguson once said was “born offside,” Inzaghi has put together a disappointing season at Milan. The team is in ninth position in Serie A, which for a team of their pedigree is unacceptable. After all, Il Rossoneri had previously set the standard in European football, especially at the end of the ’80s where Milan won consecutive European Cups with storied players like Sacchi and Fabio Capello.
It is also expected that new ownership will arrive shortly, with the Berlusconi family selling their controlling interest and more than likely prompting a change of managers. Either way, Inzaghi’s career at AC Milan will be coming to an end. After the past few seasons that saw recently-retired players take over the helm, expect the next Milan manager to be more of an experienced tactician.
John Carver, Newcastle United
Having already made a midseason managerial change, Newcastle continued their decline with six straight losses and currently find themselves in 14th place in the EPL table.
Carver himself stated that he is unsure of his future with the team and has issued a challenge to reporters to “give it a go” themselves before critiquing his managerial style.
When a manager spends more of his time battling the press than he does improving the play of his squad, it usually spells the end of his tenure with the club. Expect Mr. Carver to be sacked in late May. Perhaps he can swap his credentials as an EPL manager for those of a sports reporter, although his qualifications at both might be dubious at best.
Marcelo Bielsa, Olympique de Marseille
After a successful start to the season, hopes were high that this squad would surpass league rival PSG and take the Ligue 1 title in 2015. After all, they had won the league title in 2010 (and nine times overall) and had just added over 20,000 seats at the Stade Velodrome so that more supporters could cheer them on.
With high hopes for a Champions League berth at the start of the season, the team is currently tied for fifth position in the table and fighting for a spot in the Europa League in 2016. The nail in the coffin for Bielsa might have come on Friday, which saw Marseille thrashed at home to relegation-bound Lorient 5-3. With the first season of Bielsa’s regime coming to an end, expect his tenure in Marseille to end in May.
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid
Los Galacticos are currently just two points behind Barcelona in the race for the La Liga title and advancing to the Champions League semifinals. To an outsider, this season would be considered an unqualified success.
Welcome to the world of Real Madrid, where a stable of superstar players are on the roster and the bar is set extraordinarily high. While the managerial spot at Real Madrid is among the most coveted jobs in football, the life span for head honchos there has traditionally been relatively short. Currently, Carlo Ancelotti is completing his second year in charge, but team president Florentino Perez is rumored to be pursuing replacements. The potential list is a who’s who of European football, and includes Zinedine Zidane, Jurgen Klopp and Joachim Low.