The past week has seen some major changes at three clubs involved in the group stage of the Champions League. Rosenborg, Valencia and Sevilla have all lost or fired their managers.
Let’s start in Norway, where a day after scoring a massive upset over Valencia, Knut Toerum was released from his contract as Rosenborg Trondheim’s coach. The decision came after a meeting between the board and Toerum. Club chairman Terje Svendsen stated that both parties agreed that this season’s results had not been good enough for Rosenborg, who are only sixth in the Norwegian first division, already won by Brann Bergen. Rosenborg, typically Norway’s dominant football force, won their 20th Norwegian league title last season. From 1992 to 2004, they won the title 13 times in a row.
The 2-0 win over Valencia was due to a chance in tactics from Toerum who said after the match that he tried to “trick the Spaniards” by playing a more attacking game than usual. His tactics proved successful as Rosenborg played a strong match and were full value for the win.
The losing side in that match, Valencia, went on to suffer a 3-0 loss to Sevilla this past weekend. It proved to be too much for the club directors to handle and they fired manager Quique Sanchez Flores despite the team being only four points off the top of the table. Flores took the team to third and fourth in his two seasons in charge but failed to win over the club’s supporters with his conservative tactics.
A statement from Valencia read: ‘After analysing the team’s situation, which is considered to be irretrievable after defeats in the league and the Champions League, the board has decided to dismiss Quique Sanchez Flores.’
Rumours have surfaced that former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is being courted for the Valencia managerial position. Valencia are due at Stamford Bridge on December 11 for the final round of group B matches and the unexpected return of Mourinho would certainly heat up that fixture. Other big names currently out of work are Marcello Lippi and Fabio Capello, either of which could also be courted by Valencia.
On the other side of the pitch, Manolo Jimenez was taking charge of Sevilla for the first time since the departure of Juande Ramos. Ramos resigned in order to take over at Tottenham Hotspur. Ramos replaced the fired Martin Jol, but had been linked with the club since the beginning of the year, which I feel completely undermined Jol’s authority at the club. It’ll be interesting to see what Ramos, who has managed 11 different clubs with varying degrees of success, can do with the Tottenham. The London club aspire to crack the “Big Four” of English football and in recent seasons have come close to doing so.
Sevilla turned to a man whose loyalty to the club cannot be questioned. Jimenez, a former Spanish international defender, has deep ties to Sevilla having made 354 playing appearances over 14 years at the club. The 43-year-old has also been coaching the club’s second-division side for the past seven seasons.