ISL 2018-19: Coaches whose last game was against Bengaluru FC
Football is harsh in the modern day. Fans expect results, the club management expects result -- instantaneous results. It is not an easy job being the manager or head coach of a club.
Not just in the European leagues, Indian football also has its fair share of pressure on coaches. Many of those who coach Indian teams are not Indian nationals. While some quickly adapt to the dynamic football environment and conditions quickly, there are others who are not able to fare so well.
Everything is nice and merry when the results are going well. However, once there are high tides and the ship becomes topsy-turvy, it is the leader of the ship -- in this case the head coach -- who bears the brunt in most cases. Many coaches have no option but to resign while others are just made to pack their bags.
There are four managers who lost their jobs in recent times after losses against Bengaluru FC. In this article, we do a countdown of these four managers.
#4 Rene Meulensteen (Kerala Blasters)
Rene Meulensteen -- a former Dutch footballer -- took charge of an in-form Kerala Blasters side which had done well in the 2016 Indian Super League season.
The Tuskers had finished in second position on the table after 14 matches and also reached the final before losing out to ATK in heartbreaking fashion.
Meulensteen put pen to paper for The Blasters on 14 July 2017. They had a decent pre-season under him -- with two wins, two draws, and one loss. However, The Men in Yellow failed to perform under the Dutchman when it mattered most.
Even though the team had a strong backline, it struggled a lot up front and it seemed they had no game plan in the attack. The midfield was also practically ineffective under him and the Blasters crumbled during the league.
Even players of the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Iain Hume, and Wes Brown failed to make an impact under Meulensteen. The Sachin Tendulkar-Co-owned team had three frustrating draws from their first three matches under him.
Then came a 2-5 thrashing from FC Goa. A win finally came against NorthEast United FC in their 5th game. However, it was followed by a 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC. A 3-1 drubbing by Bengaluru FC at home was the final nail in the coffin for Meulensteen and he was sacked.
The Yellow Army relieved Rene of his duties in the first week of January 2018 after the 3-1 defeat at home to Bengaluru FC. At the time Kerala Blasters were struggling with just seven points from as many matches -- and stood at eighth position.
A sad end to a story which could have been so much more. Especially for someone like Rene -- who had also formerly worked with Sir Alex Ferguson as an assistant coach at Manchester United.
Meulensteen has past examples of being sacked as head coach after a short tenure. He was with Fulham FC from November 2013 to January 2014 and this sacking was another dent in his CV.
The Kochi-based side would appoint David James as player-manager. Kerala Blasters went on to finish the season at sixth position eventually after a fortunate turnaround under James.
#3 Fernando Santiago Valera (Gokulam Kerala FC)
A lot was expected of Spanish coach Valera when he put pen to paper for Gokulam Kerala FC.
Valera had coached Spanish Tercera Division side CF Gava and also had bundles of knowledge about the game. He even wrote a book -- named 'Futbol Inteligente' -- on grassroots training.
The coach, on his part, made significant efforts to dive into the Indian market. Having spoken Spanish throughout his life, he learned a little bit of English as that would help in communicating with the players.
Valera replaced Bino George and immediately brought success to Gokulam Kerala FC -- leading them to the Kerala Premier League title.
All was going well but destiny had other plans. The Spaniard left the club citing 'personal reasons' even before the I-League began.
The club management also felt that there was a 'language barrier' between the coach and the players.
While some said he had 'left,' there were many reports saying he was sacked. It might have been a possibility seeing the poor run in the pre-season the club had under him.
Incidentally, Gokulum Kerala FC lost the last match they played under him -- 1-4 to Bengaluru FC -- and he parted ways with them after being a little over four months in charge. The team's performance in this pre-season encounter was extremely poor and they went down without a fight.