Should Sevilla Have Stuck With Antonio Alvarez?
With just five matches gone in the current La Liga campaign, the bosses and fans at Sevilla have decided that they have seen enough of Antonio Alvarez and have given him the boot following a humiliating defeat against Hercules.
The decision marks yet another occasion when Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has seemingly given into the wills of the supporters and yet again the timing of the departure is far from perfect.
For starters, there can be little doubt, given the swiftness of the sacking and the subsequent replacement, that Alvarez was destined to leave Sevilla, whether they won, drew or lost against Hercules on Sunday afternoon.
Did the coach know that this would be his last game in charge? Only he and a handful of others will know that, but if news of the sacking had indeed spread then it could have contributed to the abject performance on the pitch.
It was not just the proximity to the clash with Hercules that is worrying though; it is also the fact that the season is just five games old. Now, had Sevilla picked up just a handful of points from those five matches and found themselves in the bottom three, a sacking might be understandable, but as the league table stands now they are in seventh place, just two points from fourth and five from the summit.
Perhaps there is a little more room for complaint on the European front, where not only were the Andalucian side knocked out of the Champions League after a shock defeat by Braga, but they then went onto start their Europa League campaign with a home loss to Paris Saint-Germain.
That final result was a major blow to Sevilla’s chances of progression in the tournament this year and now, in his first game in charge, Manzano must take his team to Dortmund and hope they can pick up some points.
Following the trip to Germany the former Real Mallorca boss can then look forward to another key-clash, this time against one of their major rivals for a top four spot in the league, Atletico Madrid.
For a man who has been out of work all summer, these two fixtures will represent serious tests and perhaps might have been better handled by a coach who was familiar with the club and players already.
In the eyes of Del Nido and the fans though there is little doubt that Manzano is the first proven coach to take charge since Juande Ramos left in 2007, but with the same players at his disposal as Alvarez, his job will be just as tricky.
The other option available for the bosses, aside from the one taken, would presumably have been to give Alvarez until Christmas and then re-evaluate the situation, also giving the new coach an opportunity to make some additions to the squad.
The downside with that choice would have been that by the time December came around, Sevilla might have been out of Europe and already out of touch with the top four in the league.
Either way, there is little doubt that Alvarez was viewed as a ‘temporary’ coach by the president; a man who would hold the fort until a more qualified and experienced coach was available to step in.
That coach, in the form of Manzano, is now in the Sevilla hot-seat, and whilst the fans appear to be pleased, it will be interesting to see how much time he is given should things turn sour like they did for his predecessor.