Mon | Aug 19, 2019

Don't dump coach just yet

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Claude Puel has recently come under fire for his managerial decisions at Leicester City Football Club. The home loss to Cardiff and the away defeat to minnows Newport County have not helped his cause. Craig Burley of ESPN has also jumped on the bandwagon.

I would urge the fans to have confidence in the coach and the board not to make the same blunder that Southampton made a year and a half ago. The Saints finished eighth in 2017 and made the final of the EFL Cup under Puel's guidance, but the board and the fans wanted more.

The coach was sacked after only one season because of "Southampton's admirably unreasonable expectations". (Paul Doyle, The Guardian, June 17, 2017)

Well, Southampton finished 17th in 2018 and now lie 16th in the Premier League with a goal difference of -16! A coach fired for finishing eighth? We're not talking about Manchester United here. Leicester finished ninth (They were 18th when he took over the reins) and now lie eighth. Puel is being criticised for the same things he did at Southampton: His style of play and his rotation policy.

Fans are not usually the best people to understand a coach's team choice and tactical moves so let me remind them of Claude Puel's CV.

Puel spent his entire senior career at Monaco playing as a defensive midfielder (1979-1996). He won Ligue 1 twice (1982, 1988), the Coupe de France thrice (1980, 1985, 1991) and the Trophee des Champions in 1985. As the manager of Monaco, he won Ligue 1 and the Trophee des Champions in his first year (2000).

It was while he was at Lille that I first noticed him as a manager. He won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2004 and spent a total of six years there. He took them from 14th (2003) to second (2005) and third (2006). Under his guidance, Lyon finished third (2009), second (2010), third (2011). He took the club to a Champions League semi-final in 2010 for the first time in its history.

My advice: Be patient. Clubs that do well are not usually those who are quick to chop and change their managers.

NORMAN W.M. THOMPSON

Department of Humanities,

NCU

Mandeville, Manchester