Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lille sack Bielsa to end failed experiment

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 15 Dec 2017

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Lille have called time on Marcelo Bielsa’s ill-fated spell in charge of the Ligue 1 club.

The 62-year-old former Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach, who is acclaimed by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Jorge Sampaoli as a coaching visionary, was appointed by Lille amid great fanfare this May.

Biesla was installed as head coach as Les Dogues underwent a huge squad overhaul, with former Barcelona vice-president Marc Ingla and ex-Monaco technical director Luis Campos brought on to the board by ambitious new owner Gerard Lopez.

But a 3-0 victory over Nantes on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season proved to be a false dawn as Lille took three points from nine subsequent winless matches.

Back-to-back wins against Metz and Saint-Etienne followed, although Bielsa was suspended by the club two days on from a 3-0 loss at Amiens.

A week later, the coach was summoned to a meeting with Lille officials for “an interview prior to a possible dismissal”.

Bielsa’s lawyer confirmed his client did not attend that meeting and the club finally confirmed his departure via a brief statement on their Twitter page on Friday.

“Having come to an end of proceedings against Marcelo Bielsa, LOSC announces that it has terminated the contract with the coach,” the statement read.

Following Bielsa’s initial suspension, Lille appointed a four-man “technical coaching unit” of Fernando Da Cruz, Joao Sacramento, Benoit Delaval and Franck Mantaux.

They have won two and lost two of four Ligue 1 games in charge, remaining in the relegation zone, and were knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue on penalties by Nice in midweek.

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