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Nantes fire Cardoso and hire former Japan coach Halilhodzic

Nantes (France) (AFP) – French league strugglers Nantes replaced under-fire Portuguese coach Miguel Cardoso with former player Vahid Halilhodzic on Tuesday, the club announced.

Cardoso, who arrived in the summer, amassed only six points from eight league matches during his brief spell with the Canaries and came under fire from club president Waldemar Kita for not deploying players who had been bought in the summer.

Nantes currently sit second from bottom of Ligue 1, 18 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

A club statement said: “FC Nantes and Miguel Cardoso have reached a mutual agreement to end their collaboration.

“FC Nantes would like to thank the Portuguese coach and all of his staff for their contribution and efforts.”

Franco-Bosnian Halilhodzic, 66, was a striker with Nantes during their golden age in the 1980s.

He went on to coach Lille and Rennes but has not worked in France since he was fired by PSG in 2005, less than a year after leading the capital club to the French Cup title and qualifying them for the 2005 Champions League.

Since then he has coached clubs in Turkey, Croatia and Saudi Arabia. He also managed the national teams of Ivory Coast, Algeria — who he led to the knockout rounds at the 2014 World Cup — and Japan, where he was fired after qualifying the Blue Samurai for the 2018 World Cup.

Halilhodzic arrived at Nantes’ training ground early on Tuesday afternoon. 

Halilhodzic, who has a reputation as a strict and fiery coach with a more defensive approach than Cardoso, represents a switch in direction for the club.

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