Thursday, January 12, 2006
Strugglers Ajaccio part company with coach Courbis
MADRID, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid sacked coach Carlos Bianchi on Thursday after a poor run of results left the Primera Liga club four points above the relegation zone and on the verge of elimination from the King's Cup.
The former Boca Juniors coach, who signed a three-year deal
when he arrived in June, will be replaced on a caretaker basis
by reserve team coach Pepe Murcia, the 12th man to take the helm
since Radomir Antic left the club in 1998.
"We have arrived at an agreement with Bianchi to terminate
his contract with immediate effect," club president Enrique
Cerezo told a news conference.
"As everyone knows we started the season with high hopes in
him and the team. We did all we could to construct a great side
to improve on last season's disappointments.
"But clearly things have not worked out as we had hoped.
Results are the most important part of the job and they have not
Atletico visit struggling Real Betis in the league on
Bianchi, 56, had an impressive track record when he joined
Atletico having led Boca out of lean spell to become the
dominant force in South American football, steering them to
success in three Libertadores Cups and two World Club Cups.
But just five months into his new job, Atletico are 12th in
the Primera Liga and without a win in their last nine league
On Wednesday they suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Real
Zaragoza in the first leg of their last-16 tie in the King's
Bianchi, who had an unhappy spell as coach at AS Roma, joins
a long list of South American coaches who have failed to
translate their success to a different continent.
Last month Brazilian coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo was sacked
by Atletico's city rivals Real Madrid after only 12 months at
Atletico have struggled to find a successful formula at the
club since returning to the top flight in 2002.
Current Spain boss Luis Aragones, Gregorio Manzano and last
year Cesar Ferrando have all been and gone, though this year
Atletico brought in players of the calibre of Serbia &
Montenegro striker Mateja Kezman, Bulgaria winger Martin Petrov
as well as Argentina internationals Maxi Rodriguez and Luciano
But despite recording an exhilarating 2-1 victory over
champions Barcelona in September - the league leaders' only
defeat this season - the season has slowly unravelled with a
series of morale-sapping displays.
Half-empty stadiums have greeted the team in their last
couple of matches and fans have vented their anger against both
the coach and the directors.
Media reports suggest Osasuna coach Javier Aguirre is being
targeted as a replacement as well as former Deportivo Coruna
boss Javier Irureta, a former Atletico player.