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Struggling Bordeaux fire coach Petkovic

Bordeaux (AFP) – Bordeaux fired coach Vladimir Petkovic on Monday, the day after a 5-0 thrashing at Reims kept the six-time French champions anchored in the relegation places.

Petkovic arrived in July after leading Switzerland to the quarter-finals at the European Championship. They eliminated France in the round of 16.

He has led financially troubled Bordeaux to four victories in 23 Ligue 1 matches and they sit 19th in the 20 team league, although they trail the two clubs above only on goal difference. 

The club said his assistant Antonio Manicone was also fired.

The training on Monday was led by the remaining coaching staff, including former Bordeaux captain Jaroslav Plasil and Gregory Coupet, who recently arrived as goalkeeper coach.

Former Monaco coach Thierry Henry has been linked with the club as Petkovic struggled in recent weeks.

The next coach will be the club’s sixth in just over four years.

Bordeaux won the last of their French league titles in 2009 and lifted the cup in 2013, but the club has been drifting on the field for some time.

It was placed into administration last year after US-based owners King Street pulled the plug on their investment.

Last year, Les Girondins flirted with relegation before winning their last two games to stay up, but their survival as a club was not assured until former Lille owner Gerard Lopez completed a takeover in July. He then hired Petkovic.

Renewed optimism quickly faded.

Bordeaux were hit badly by Covid-19 cases, while captain Laurent Koscielny was dropped from the first-team squad.

On January 14 the club suffered their heaviest Ligue 1 loss since 1968 when they capitulated 6-0 at Rennes.

“I’m a fighter, my star sign is Leo,” said Petkovic after that match. “I don’t give up.”

“We’re in a battle for survival. We must approach matches in a more combative way, with the desire to win at all costs.”

That approach appeared to pay off with a 4-3 win over high-flying Strasbourg that seemed to have earned Petkovic a reprieve but, on Sunday they collapsed at Reims.

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