Lille have sacked new manager Hervé Renard after just 13 games following the Ligue 1 club’s poor start to the season.
The former Ivory Coast manager has only been in the post for six months but has been forced out after picking up just 13 points in as many matches this season.
After Saturday's 1-1 draw with Nice, the club decided to cut their losses, getting rid of the 47-year-old with assistant Patrick Collot taking temporary charge.
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After 13 matches of Ligue 1, LOSC advanced to the 16th in the standings; a perilous position and certainly not up to the club's goals,” The club said on a statement.
"Absolutely convinced of the talent within the squad, [chairman] Michel Seydoux quickly made a decision that will aim to review the management of the playing squad to rebuild a positive dynamic and put the project of Lille back on the road to success.
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Lille are only a point above the relegation zone, and have only won two league games this season, of which both came at home against Montpellier & Gazelec Ajaccio – both below them in the table.
Their real problems have been turning draws, which they have seven this season, into wins. Finding the back of the net has also proved troublesome, scoring only seven goals this season.
But for the mercurial talents of Sofiane Boufal, who has four goals this season, the outlook could be far bleaker for Les Dogues.
It’s easy to forget that as recently as 2011, Lille were celebrating a famous league and cup double. Back then, Moussa Sow and Gervinho were finding the net with startling frequency, while Eden Hazard and Yohan Cabaye were providing the creativity.
Success is both a blessing and a curse, as they would lose all their key players to bigger, more established sides. This year has seen them lose more key players, such as Adama Traoré to Monaco and Idrissa Gueye to the draw of the Premier League.
Right to sack him?
The decision to fire the Frenchman after just six months is a very short-sighted one. Lille have shown themselves in the past to be capable of challenging for honours and need stability to do so. When they did last win the league and cup double in 2011, it took then-manager Rudi Garcia three seasons to do so. Clearly six months for Renard is far from enough.
Lille’s board have shown to be quick on the trigger in the past. The actually sacked title-winning manager Girard after guiding them to their best finish in three years, only to bring him back two weeks later after realising their error.
The club statement made clear that they believe the squad is talented enough to succeed, making the deduction that Renard was the sole cause for the poor form. And having brought in 12 new players, they would say so. But therein may lie the problem. This year has been another season of upheaval, both behind the scenes and in the playing staff.
Having won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast and Zambia, Renard seems the perfect manager for international management, but stutters when it comes to club football. Either way he deserved time to prove his worth, which he did not get at Lille.