The big name foreign coach is not just confined to England or Spain. Romania also has its share of highly paid foreign coaches at a sacking, erm, turning point in their adventures. Radu Baicu looks a the fortunes of three of Romania's expensive imports.
Andrea Mandorlini (CFR Cluj), Lopez Caro (FC Vaslui), Vladimir Petrovic (FC Timisoara). Big names, high wages, scary anti-sacking clauses. What's to be done once they get their teams into deep trouble?
Well, Timisoara's Marian Iancu always liked to look tough in the media, CFR's Arpad Paszkany plays the old "Backing the coach" trick and looks very supportive (until he finds a replacement), while FC Vaslui chairman Adrian Porumboiu has no other option than to beg the former Real Madridista to leave the team without asking for more than a couple of hundred thousand Euros. Not a good moment to be in charge of a club, right?
Mandorlini, saved by last season's trophies. But not for long...
CFR won the league and the Romanian Cup with him on the bench, but the team rarely offered convincing displays, struggling to adjust to a 4-3-3 that looked good on paper, but poor on the pitch. With the whole summer ahead of him and the chance to create a roster according to his plans, Mandorlini failed once again to impose his ideas. Important changes took place in the team, but CFR kept on switching between a 4-3-3 and a 4-3-1-2 in the first rounds that left the impression that Mandorlini needed a few more friendly matches in order to make the team click. Six rounds gone and the champions are in mid-table, with the humiliating 0-3 defeat suffered against a newly promoted Sportul Studentesc still hurting a lot of egos in Cluj. Although chairman Arpad Paszkany backed the coach, Mandorlini - who recently got Sforzini, De Zerbi and Anselmo Ramon to make up for Deac's transfer to Schalke - should think about packing, unless he manages to turn things around right away. He won't be the first coach who got CFR into the Champions League group stage and get the sack before playing a single game - he can ask Ioan Andone!
Lopez Caro - not very Galactico in Vaslui
This was supposed to be the year in which FC Vaslui would have thrown everything into the fight for the title, yet Adrian Porumboiu feels he just threw a bag of cash out the window. With a strong roster available, plus several other top buys, the former Real Madrid coach Lopez Caro and his professional staff were expected to produce wonders in Liga I. I cannot figure out what these guys did all summer, as they're currently still trying to figure out where each player goes in a 4-2-3-1 that was torn to pieces by Rapid, Steaua and Unirea Urziceni. Ok, we should keep in mind that Vaslui lost against top clubs (except Unirea, who was in a really bad state before the game!), yet Lopez Caro knows really well that these are the teams to beat, if he does want to have a shot at a title. Playing Wesley, the team's top player and most prolific scorer from last season, as a central midfielder (he had to get the ball from the defenders and organize the build-up, just like a "regista basso"), was the strangest idea, but the poor signings made by the Spaniard angered the owner even more than the poor start of the season. Rodolfo Bodipo was already sent back to Spain, while Campano, Annang (terrible player) and Yero Bello have every reason to anger the guys like Pancu, who worked hard all summer and now find themselves out of the team. Porumboiu already had several meetings with Caro, trying first to figure out what's wrong and lately to convince him to walk away, saying that he expects some decency from the coach, as things cannot continue like this. Quite a change of position from the man who was so sure that this guy is a pro and he won't touch him in the three years of a contract that he agreed to pay around 1 million Euros in case he'd ever decide to give him the sack.
Vladimir Petrovic - the coach that invented the attacking 5-4-1
"I was asked to change the team's style and take a more offensive approach, in an attempt to win trophies", said Petrovic at his official unveiling and the first official games were encouraging: Timisoara scored twice in the first three matches, but the team rarely looked solid at the back, when the captain Alexa was left alone to protect the back four, so the team's best defensive midfielder, Bourceanu, had to return in the first eleven, at the expense of a more offensive player. Along came a certain Manchester City and all Pizon could think of was how to avoid humiliation, sacrificing the idea of playing football and working on a catenaccio that looked terrible and exposed a poor mentality, especially in the second leg. Even more upsetting was Timisoara's return to Liga I matches, as Petrovic deployed the same tactic in the match against the exhausted Steaua Bucharest, a 5-4-1 that only thought about defending in numbers, tormented for an hour by a young team, who could have gone two or three up in the first half. It was just 1-0, though, so Pizon's offensive changes brought an undeserved equalizer in the second half and even a couple of chances to snatch a win. The club's owner didn't fall for that and launched a justified attack on the coach: "I refuse to pay such a team, one that fields players wearing pampers. We had five defenders, two defensive midfielders and three forwards that had to defend in our half. We looked small and this should not happen again." Yellow card, Mr. Petrovic, with a yellow cab to follow. Timisoara is only 178 kms away from Belgrade...
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