Lille have announced Frederic Antonetti is the man to succeed recently sacked manager Herve Renard. The club have struggled of late, and with relegation a real possibility, could the fiery Frenchman be the man to turn their season around?
Who is he?
Antonetti may not be a name that many have heard in a while in French football, or even at all outside of France. After all, he has not managed a club since leaving Rennes back in 2013.
But he is most certainly an experienced manager and has enjoyed 20 years of relative success in his managerial career. Bastia in particular seem a club close to his heart, having played for the Corsican club in three different spells. The 57-year-old went on to manage the team, where arguably he had his greatest success, winning the Intertoto Cup.
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He then managed second division St. Etienne, and took them up within three seasons. Despite securing promotion to Ligue 1, disagreements with a board member over staff meant his contract was not renewed and he left the club.
Almost 1000 fans gathered outside of Etienne’s Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in protest of his departure, which was indicative of just how good a job he did during his time.
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But this is the big league, not the second division. So how does his record hold up in Ligue 1? As well as his time with Bastia, he has had spells in the top flight with both Nice and Rennes and had some good finishes, but equally some rather dismal ones. He did manage Europa League qualification with Rennes, though they finished rock bottom of their group.
Most notably, he is a three-time French Cup finalist with three different clubs - Bastia, Nice & Rennes - which is a decent achievement, but the fact that he has failed to win any of them is slightly worrying.
Turning Lille around
Being out of the game for over two years means he should bring some enthusiasm to Lille which they are in desperate need of in these dire times. Already a very passionate and involved manager, that spirit combined with his experience seems a good fit on paper.
Lille currently sit 17th and are without a league victory in five matches so a win is a must, especially for squad morale. At times when teams are underperforming and rudderless, a fresh injection of energy and enthusiasm can go a long way.
Given his history with low-mid table clubs in Ligue 1, resurrecting Lille from the ashes is something he should be able to manage given time. He has already admitted he may have to change the system somewhat, but given his knowledge of French football, he is more than equipped to go toe-to-toe tactically.
But no one will really know just what kind of impact he can have until the end of the season. But it will be interesting to see how he sets out the team in his first match against Angers.
Do you think Lille can stave off relegation and progress up the table? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!