Leicester City decided today to sack Claude Puel after recent bad results, not able to win a single game in the last six played. Puel took charge of Leicester City back in October 2017, and had a relatively turbulent time at King Power Stadium.
Puel took over a team who had been on a rollercoaster ride and flirted with relegation under former manager Craig Shakespeare. Claudio Ranieri had also experienced the same axe from the owners, who are known for being spontaneous and using “the sack” as a strategic weapon to lift the spirit among fans and players.
Claude Puel had a difficult task and had to make a number of difficult choices in his attempt to keep the club in a middle placed Premier League position. A club that out of nowhere goes to the very top and wins the title as Leicester City did back in 15/16, will be in a difficult position and with fans being left with a dream, a hope and not really knowing how they will respond to what comes next, you will find this difficult to handle.
The fact that you cannot win games and that you go on a roll of defeats will always seeing questions asked and the way Claude Puel went about it, you are often thinking, what is he up to now, but as long as he wins or pick up points, people don’t care, you can do what you like.
Tcf changed his mind on Claude Puel after the Tottenham game. He had already decided to leave out Wes Morgan, juggling with Jamie Vardy and started to irritate Kasper Schmeichel. The trio of Morgan, Vardy and Schmeichel are the main leaders of the dressing room and strong characters.
Puel has not been all bad this season, with some very strong results against Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. Also playing great football, despite defeats, against Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal, but his results against Cardiff at home, Palace at home and Newport in the FA Cup, were not in his favor at all, all unforgivable.
Leicester City could have gone all the way in the Carabao Cup this season, but the team selection against Man City in the quarter finals, at home, was not really easy to understand and made it difficult, despite getting a penalty shoot out in the end.
The way Claude Puel has tried to change things might have gone a bit too fast and the players brought in are so young that when you start to “get in trouble” during games, you cannot really rely on them, as they are too young to tackle that type of pressure, and that might be the biggest fault.
Leicester City fans were also mixed, but when when Puel decided to axe Jamie Vardy, for no special reason, with Demarai Gray, who has no track record of scoring the goals that Vardy does, you start to think that is this man “mad” or is he a “fool”.
If Gray was in his mid 20’s with a track record of playing alone up front and scoring goals, then you might have been more patient with Puel, but this looked like a “great idea” just “landing in your head” a few hours before kick off.
Gray is a young lad, who needs at least five to six games up front in this position in the Premier League to really get a grip of the idea of this position, a bit like Chilwell was introduced to the first team, something that might have cost a number of points last season, but at this moment looks as a genius act by Puel. You can introduce one, maybe two young players, but just throwing them all in will be a big gamble against top oppositions.
The way Leicester City owners have chopped and changed managers, sold their best players in Kante, Mahrez and Drinkwater, shows lack of strategic thinking, not able to back their current manager. Owners and executives at the club have not been able “to sell the brand” to their current key players, and that is the major fault, not the managers.
The real issue to solve is why the best players are triggered to leave Leicester City as they have been since the early days of the 60’s and 70’s, with even a Premier League title and a possible run in the Champions League not enough to make them stay.
This is were Top and his men must start to solve their problem, and if they cannot solve that, then we just have to wait and see, and hopefully by luck again find a group of players that can bring success to Leicester City FC.
The football affairs is the main focus for a football club and owners must understand that. To see the tycoons just going for “the sack” is showing people working in management what this is really all about, going forward with a type of “warrior” approach.
Professional football is brutal and for new generations of fans, young people who goes to games and are recruited into this world of following football, you have a responsibility to learn how management should be established and how you should work to get good results, when the chips are down, you use “the axe” and the picture of grown men being shown the door is often difficult to understand.
VAR is now introduced in football as we like to get everything correct, coming to owners and football management, certainly “the axe” cannot be the way forward and we should get regulations and probably other more softer reactions as the league system today really should be looked at with the Premier League being build in a way that is not taking the game forward, at least coming to the way football clubs are being managed. It’s ruthless and shows that results are destroying the product in a way that makes it difficult to bring this culture forward in the best way possible.
Everything in football comes from the top, from the ownership, and sometimes, even you can be lucky with a manager who brings forward marvels and can trick everyone as Claudio Ranieri did, but as lightening managed to bring the team, without Kante, into a relegation fight just weeks after being crowned as winners of the Premier League.
Claude Puel is gone, sa are other managers in the life of this football club. First team coach Adam Sadler and goalkeeper coach Mike Stowell are the once to keep team affairs running and will be in charge for the Brighton game on Tuesday.
No new name is lined up, but Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers are two that has been mentioned a lot in the media. None of the two are likely to leave their posts at this moment and would probably not be allowed to talk to, even if they were interested.
David Moyes and Sam Allardyce are two that currently are available and known for taking interim jobs or being tempted to go into positions like the one vacant at Leicester City at the moment. They both know the trade of football management and knows how to organize a defense, and bring the boat safely into the harbor at the end of the season. They are two not very popular among Leicester City fans and would fast bring a toxic atmosphere if results were not as expected.
There are of course a number of great positives taking over a job at Leicester City, with some great players to coach and at the same time challenges to bring in the right players to get a perfect blend to be part of a climb to something not really said.
We now that owners want to bring the club forward but what is that after winning the Premier League, reached the quarter finals of the Champions League and not really thinking that would happen again. A surreal situation and one difficult work description for a new manager.
What a new manager must bring to the table is a good run in the cups, being a top 10 club in the Premier League and don’t lose against lower placed opposition at home, and really give every opponent coming to the King Power a battering.
At this moment Tcf could of course dream about a manager to replace Claude Puel, but don’t really have a clue about who can take over and bring this club forward, and with the rapid changes of management at Leicester City, it is not really easy to see long term and understand how the club owners are thinking, a difficult task.
The fact that Claude Puel left was a bit of a relief, because you could see that he had started to experiment and “give players a chance”, but then you also give the opponent a chance, and if you forget that, then you will be “sacked”.