Early Thursday morning, Palmeiras announced the sacking of Coach Roger Machado. Stepping up in January, he commanded Palmeiras 44 times, computing 27 victories, 9 draws and 8 defeats: a respectable 68% of points won.
Less than 48 hours before receiving the boot, Palmeiras’ director of football Alexandre Mattos gave Machado his full support. “We’re giving him tranquillity, shielding him. We have absolute confidence in his work, the numbers are good”, Mattos told journalists. U20 coach Wesley Carvalho resumes for the time being.
If there is one perpetual feature at Palmeiras, come rain come sunshine, it spells “fire the coach”. Since the beginning of the century, there have been 28 coach swaps, with 24 different coaches. On average, a new coach every 7.5 months.
After a lengthy World Cup break, expectation were for an improved Palmeiras, technically and mentally. Machado did not deliver, not were there signs that any improvement was imminent. “Imminent” being the key word, as always in Brazil.
Palmeiras’ last three coaches – Baptista, Cuca, Machado – have all been very different one from the other. There is no strategy, no desired profile to the signings. Same goes for the squad: good names are brought in, but they are not necessarily pieces of the same jigsaw puzzle.
So, what now? Palmeiras are looking for someone “cascudo”, an experienced coach with a strong motivational and authoritarian vein, ready to sign a 6-month contract. Someone to shake the squad out of inertia. The general idea here is that the squad is qualified enough, that no fancy tactics or game plans are needed. Keep it simple, but put the squeeze on, and do it fast, as the next knockout rounds of the Libertadores and Brazil Cup are fast approaching. Names like Luiz Felipe Scolari and Vanderlei Luxemburgo are mentioned. Quite a few favours Abel Braga but he is seemingly out of the picture, having already made clear he will not take any assignment before January of next year.
All this, while the backstage election campaigning moves into the frontline. Never a dull moment at Palmeiras. Stay tuned as news unfold.