7 Managers Across Europe Who Could Face the Sack During the Christmas Period

Christmas time. It is, so the song goes, supposed to be thee season of goodwill to all men.

For some football managers, however, that goodwill won’t extend from the chairmen and boards of their respective clubs. After all, the festive period is notorious for seeing sides across Europe dispensing with their underperforming gaffers.

Which bosses are most at risk from receiving a chop more dreaded than those turkeys that have lined up in recent weeks though? Fear not, for 90min is on hand to give you the rundown on who we think is the most likely to be handed their P45 in time for Christmas dinner:

7. Paul Hartley (Dundee)

Morecambe v Dundee - Pre Season friendly

Paul Hartley left Dundee supporters swooning after guiding them back in the Scottish Premiership in his maiden campaign in charge, and saw further praise lavished on him following last term’s sixth-placed finish.

Things have not been rosy for the former Aberdeen star this season, though, with the Dees languishing in 10th place just two points above the drop zone.

Three wins in the last six league encounters have helped to stem the calls for his departure but, with an away trip to Celtic and a home encounter against fourth-placed Hearts, before a massive six-pointer against fellow strugglers Partick Thistle to come before the end of 2016, Hartley may not be enjoying a Happy New Year in two weeks’ time.

6. Bernard Casoni (FC Lorient)


The 2016/17 campaign isn’t going well for FC Lorient and their commander-in-chief Bernard Casoni.

The Frenchman has guided his charges to just three league wins from 17 matches this term, and currently sees his side prop up Ligue 1 with a paltry 12 points. Despite arresting Lorient’s poor form with a three match unbeaten run recently, the 3-2 defeat to Toulouse last Saturday heaped the pressure back on the 55-year-old.

With difficult games against high-flying Paris Saint-Germain and Saint Etienne to come before the continent shuts down for its winter break, Casoni faces two massive games to save his job ahead of the holidays.

5. Valerien Ismael (VfL Wolfsburg)

FC Ingolstadt 04 v VfL Wolfsburg - Bundesliga

VfL Wolfsburg secured their first ever Bundesliga title only eight seasons ago but, under the stewardship of Valerian Ismael, find themselves just two points above the bottom of Germany’s top flight after 14 matches.

Initially appointed as interim boss on October 17, Ismael picked up two wins from four games before being handed the job on a full-time basis three weeks later. Since then, however, the 44-year-old has failed to lead his team to victory in four matches.

Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach are up next for Valerian’s Die Wolfe, and anything less than two wins before the Christmas break could see Ismael demoted back down to Wolfsburg II side just six weeks after his appointment as first-team coach.

4. Owen Coyle (Blackburn Rovers)

Derby County v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship

Another manager who was only appointed recently, Owen Coyle has done little to appease the growing discontent at Blackburn Rovers on and off the field.

The Ewood Park-based outfit are mired in the Championship relegation zone with 20 points from 21 games, and face an almighty fight to prevent themselves from slipping into England’s third tier at the end of the season.

Rovers had appeared to turn a corner with successive victories over Brentford and table topping Newcastle United in November, but one point from three games in December has seen them slip back into the bottom three.

Blackburn entertain Reading on Saturday before away days at top half sides Barnsley and Huddersfield Town. Anything less than six points may see Coyle given his marching orders.

3. Cesare Prandelli (Valencia)

CD Leganes v Valencia CF - Copa del Rey Round of 32

Another fallen title winner after only being crowned La Liga winners 12 years ago, but Valencia’s fall from grace since then has been utterly remarkable thanks to rising debts and the sale of many star players.

Ex-Italy boss Cesare Prandelli may have only been appointed as boss at the Mestalla in September, but he is already under the cosh following an alarming slide down Spain’s top flight.

Just two wins have been attained in his first 10 matches in charge of Valencia, with no clean sheets registered during that time. Two crunch home ties against table toppers Real Madrid and Leganes are set to take place ahead of La Liga shutting down for Christmas, and Prandelli will do well to survive if his charges suffer another pair of defeats.

2. Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace v Southampton - Premier League

It was only seven months ago that Alan Pardew was crestfallen after seeing his side lose out in the FA Cup final to Manchester United, but the Crystal Palace boss now has more pressing concerns than silverware ahead of the festive period.

The Eagles, currently mired in 16th place, lie just three points above the relegation zone as the Londoners struggle for any semblance of consistent form.

After an early season lurch, Pardew turned his side’s fortunes around with 10 points from 15 in September but, since then, seven defeats from the next nine games has thrown Palace back into the fight at the bottom of the Premier League.

Given the dreaded vote of confidence by his chairman Steve Parish after the 5-4 defeat to Swansea City, Pardew needs results against Chelsea and Watford to potentially save his skin.

1. Eugenio Corini (Palermo)

US Citta di Palermo v AC ChievoVerona - Serie A

Much like his Lorient counterpart in France, Eugenio Corini sees his Palermo side rooted to the bottom of Serie A.

A measly six points have been accrued from 16 league games in 2016/17, and the knives are certainly out for the 46-year-old after a horrific run of nine consecutive league defeats.

An away day to Genoa is up next for Corini and his squad, before a mammoth bottom-of-the-table clash with relegation rivals Pescara at home just three days before Christmas. If ever a manager feared for their job in the lead up to December 25, surely it has to be Corini?