Anxious coaches settle down for Champions League draw

PARIS (AFP) – As the coaches of the 16 qualifiers for the Champions League last 16 prepare to watch the draw in Nyon, they might ask: What price success.

Five of the clubs made it to the knockout stages even though they axed the men who were in charge when the draw for the group stage was made.

Valencia started the trend by giving Marcelino the boot six days before their Champions League opener at Chelsea, bringing in Albert Celades, who had never been a club head coach. They then beat the Blues and went on to top tight Group H, dumping out Ajax on the final day.

Even though Mauricio Pochettino had guided Tottenham Hotspur to a first ever Champions League final last season, he was in danger as soon as Spurs lost 7-2 at home to Bayern Munich. What is more remarkable is that the winning coach that day, Niko Kovac, has also gone.

Sylvinho led Lyon to a 2-0 victory at Leipzig on the second matchday, but when he lost at home to derby rivals Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 four days later, the club said “au revoir“.