Posts Tagged ‘mano menezes’

It was in the cards. Last Thursday’s home draw to relegation-threatened Bahia, after leading two nil, saw coach Cuca’s dismissal. “By mutual agreement”, as the Palmeiras statement read on Friday afternoon.

cuca_211In 2016, Cuca guided Palmeiras to their first top-flight title in 22 years before stepping down for personal reasons. After a few months with Eduardo Baptista in command, Cuca was reappointed in May. The premature exit in the Libertadores Cup was followed by an equally disappointing Brazil Cup performance. Now, with plenty of time for training and rest, improvements were expected but Cuca and the squad failed to deliver. The lack of evolution gradually corroded confidence and both players and coach started to display certain listlessness. The ending is always the same: coach sacked. In this second spell at the club, Cuca led Palmeiras in 34 games, with 16 victories, 7 draws and 11 defeats: only 54% of the points available.  

Always a fierce critic of the constant coach swapping in Brazilian football, I have come to understand just how deeply entrenched in the system it is. Consider the latest turns at Palmeiras: Ricardo Gareca, 4 months; Dorival Júnior, 3 months; Oswaldo de Oliveira, 5 months; Marcelo Oliveira, 10 month; Cuca, 8 months (first spell); Eduardo Baptista, 5 months; Cuca, 5 months (second spell). A club might have the best of intentions, wanting to stick with a coach no matter what: the pressure, from everyone and everywhere, is overwhelming. Considering this, Cuca’s dismissal was well timed. Assisting coach Alberto Valentim immediately assumed, last Sunday leading Palmeiras to a 3-1 away victory against Atlético Goianense. With ten rounds to go, he should be able to keep Palmeiras in the top four, securing a spot in next year’s Libertadores.

That said, Valentim has virtually zero chance of receiving a permanent appointment. My sources say Palmeiras have locked sights on current Cruzeiro coach Mano Menezes, with previous spells at Grêmio, Corinthians, Flamengo and, in 2010-2012, Brazil’s national squad. The 55-year-old has been the name of choice of football director Alexandro Mattos for years. Seems discussions are already involving names of players Mano would like to see added to the Palmeiras squad in 2018. With that, planning for next season is well underway, which is fundamentally important.

To Cuca, eternal gratitude for the 2016 Brazilian championship title. Too bad things did not work out in the sequel. Best of luck in future endeavours!

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!


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With delight or more likely fear, you might think I’m referring to Vanderlei Luxemburgo: the coach who has led Palmeiras no less than four different times and an avid man with the cards. Paulo Nobre keeps his face and claims it’s all speculations. I take his words for it. After all, Luxa hasn’t been anywhere near his old self for quite some time.

That not meaning Kleina can relax in his seat. On the contrary: there’s a growing feeling he’s not cut for Palmeiras’ centenary. Seemingly unable to motivate the squad in their 9 to 5 approach to the Serie B, he’s also doing too little too late during games, being overly careful, defensive, hesitant, almost gutless. There’s no spark. It still works, for now. But it’s not but one envisions for 2014.

Nobre must be thinking the same, but he keeps his face, knowing that there’s nothing a swap at this moment would achieve. Better conduct discreet negotiations, sign a heavy hitter as soon as the season ends and give him the squad to mold as he pleases during the, for Palmeiras, unusual long rest in between seasons.

Tonight, Flamengo coach Mano Menezes resigned. Will he be called back to Corinthians? Where would Tite be heading, to Internacional? Is anyone at all interested in what Dunga has to offer if he’s sacked at Inter? To what extent can Palmeiras stir the waters?

— ooo —

Great 2-4 victory last Tuesday against Avaí’s eleven and the referee, who was nothing but a disaster. In any case, with 52 points, Palmeiras lead six points ahead of Chapecoense and only need four or perhaps five victories out of the remaining 15 rounds to secure. On Saturday, Sport is the opponent, at the Pacaembu. Expect a good turnout.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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Last Thursday we learnt that five players will not see their contracts renewed at the end of the year: left-back Leandro, midfielders João Vítor and Daniel Carvalho, and forwards Betinho and Obina. In addition, Palmeiras put another eleven players out on the transfer market: keepers Pegorari and Carlos; defenders Capixaba, Luís Felipe and Gerley; centre-backs Leandro Amaro and Wellington; midfielders Tinga and Patrik; forwards Daniel Lovinho and Tadeu.

As of yesterday, four more players can start looking for work elsewhere: right-back Artur, centre-backs Adalberto Román and Thiago Heleno, and midfielder Correa.

What about arrivals? Well, the only signing so far is right-winger Ayrton, currently at Coritiba but belonging to Londrina. In addition, defensive midfielders Souza and Wendel are returning after a season on loan to Náutico and Ponte Preta respectively. Anything else, and especially involving goalkeepers, is pure speculation.

— ooo —

You will certainly have heard that former Palmeiras coach and 2002 World Cup-winner Luiz Felipe Scolari has replaced Mano Menezes as the new coach of the Brazilian national team for the 2014 World Cup. Carlos Alberto Parreira, who led Brazil to its fourth world title in 1994, has been named technical director. In case you’re looking for insights on the rather surprising swap – including the rumours on Guardiola as a candidate – I can nothing but recommend this text by the always excellent James Young.

On an ending note, Luiz Felipe Scolari lost his mother yesterday. Our thoughts go to our former commander and his family.

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