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Oct 23, 2006

Monaco part company with coach Boloni

MONACO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Monaco coach Laszlo Boloni has been relieved of his duties and replaced by his deputy Laurent Banide until further notice, the Ligue 1 strugglers' chairman Michel Pastor said on Monday.

Boloni, who joined Monaco from Stade Rennes in the close season, was absent from the Monday's training session which was conducted by the 38-year-old Banide.

'Mr Lazslo Boloni has been temporarily relieved from his duties and has been replaced by Laurent Banide until further notice,' Pastor told a news conference at the club's training headquarters.

Asked about the exact situation of his coach, Pastor did not clearly say that Boloni had been sacked over the team's poor results.

'We have to sort out several contractual matters in the next few days,' Pastor said. 'I don't want to put the blame on Boloni himself who is a man of strong convictions.

'But we are dealing with tough times at the moment and it's normal to try find out a solution as our 19th place (in the standings) is unacceptable,' Pastor said.

Monaco, Champions League runners-up in 2004, made it clear they were aiming for a European berth when the season started but after 10 matches they are one from bottom in Ligue 1.

Monaco have lost seven matches, three at home including Saturday's 3-1 loss to Toulouse at the principality's Stade Louis II which prompted the decision concerning Boloni.

Pastor also said that Banide has enough experience to assume the coach's duties until the end of the season 'if necessary'.

Banide is the son of Gerard Banide who was Monaco's coach from 1979 to 1983 and between February and June 1995.

He was assistant to Argentina's Francesco Guidolin, who took over from former France captain Didier Deschamps in September 2005.

He is Monaco's fourth coach over a 13-month length of time.

'I have never coached a Ligue 1 side before but I know this club and I feel close to it. I couldn't turn down such an offer,' Banide told reporters.

'We are going to have a meeting with the players to try to get out of this tricky situation,' he said.

Captain Gael Givet welcomed the news, saying he hoped that it would help produce a psychological reaction among the players.

'This was not a surprise. We were expecting it,' Givet said. 'When you replace the coach you hope to trigger a reaction to help the team bounce back.

'I hope it's going to happen to us. To get out of the relegation zone,' he said.