clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Thierry Henry is Right. Any Mention of Zinedine Zidane Getting The Sack is Comical

New, comments

Former French legend defends Zizou amidst an inconsistent start to the new season

Quarter-final Brazil v France - World Cup 2006 Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images

Thierry Henry, now assistant manager with the Belgium National Team, spoke like a true coach after Madrid’s humiliating defeat to Barcelona. Speaking with the Sky Sports team of Jon Driscoll and Guillem Balague, Henry was quick to defend his former teammate by saying, "To even talk about Zizou getting the sack is comical to me with what he has done," Henry continued to speak candidly: "Can he not have a little pause on the run that he had with his team? It goes with the job, because when you don't perform they ask questions, but come on, he has done a tremendous job."

The chopping and changing of managers has become part of the modern game. Just ask Eduardo Berizzo — sacked after six months despite taking over a Sevilla side in transition. The club lost Monchi, their talismanic sporting director, and brought in 14 new players! On top of all that, 13 players departed — including key cogs to the team like Vitolo, Nasri, Jovetic and Mariano. Yet they are still very much in the race for a Champions League spot and have progressed to the round of 16 in Europe’s elite competition. Forget his battle with cancer, Berizzo was just getting his feet wet and was kicked to the curb. Sadly, this is modern football. Alaves and Las Palmas have each disposed of two coaches (now on their third) in the space of six months. The turnover rate does not just apply to just Spain, but all clubs as the cost of failing is far too risky. There has been 18 managerial changes over in England (amongst the PL & Championship) and if reports from Italy are to be believed, AC Milan may already be losing patience with Gattuso after just a handful of games

Data put together by a football consultancy group, 21st Club, provided statistical facts on the points earned by teams competing in what is considered the “big five European leagues”. 21st Club looked at the eight games before and after the firing of a manager. In the eight games prior to a manager being sacked, the team averages 0.8 points per game. In the following eight matches after their departure, a team averages 1.2 points per game – thus pointing to an improvement. Though, the key stat used is expected goals and when the data is compared against expected goals, the opportunities created were superior and the opportunities conceded were less, meaning the team actually ‘deserved’ 1.2 points per game in the eight points before the manager was fired. The points per game ended up being equal between the new manager and the old. When teams fall out of form and lack confidence, their performances suffer and luck seems to run dry. Managers are not given the opportunity to drag the team out of a rut even though the data points to them being able to do just that if given the time.

Losses to Girona, Betis, Tottenham, and the most recent harrowing defeat at the hands of Barcelona, coupled with draws against Valencia and Athletic Bilboa have left many questioning Zidane’s authority. The Frenchman has been criticized from all corners —and oftentimes rightly so. His personnel selection, the summer recruitment, tactical systems and structures — the team simply hasn’t been at the level expected of Real Madrid and in particular Zidane’s Real Madrid. Though, if any manager has earned the right for a vote of confidence or the elusive feeling of stability, it is Zinedine Zidane. He took over a dressing room in dismay, lacking confidence and 12 points behind Barcelona. He turned that team around and came one point away from winning La Liga. On top of that, he won the Champions League not once, but twice. He has won five trophies in 2017 alone — the first manager in Real Madrid’s history to do so. Any speculation behind Zidane’s potential sacking, even if Madrid lose to PSG, should be labeled as comical. Now will be the true test of the club’s maturity from fans: To the players, to the board, and to Florentino Perez himself, Zidane is still the right man for the job, but needs patience and time to steady the ship once again.

Poll

Is Henry right? Is talk of Zidane’s dismissal out of line?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Yes, it is embarassing he is even being questioned. Zidane deserves the opportunity to put this right.
    (705 votes)
  • 7%
    No, La Liga is lost and the team’s stucture and performances have been poor. We need change.
    (77 votes)
  • 20%
    Yes, he deserves time, but if Madrid lose to PSG, my patience is lost.
    (207 votes)
989 votes total Vote Now

Sources:

Wigmore, Tim. “Sacking Your Manager Is Pointless and a Result of Bad Luck and the Stats Prove It.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 9 Nov. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/sacking-managers-pointless-stats-slaven-bilic-west-ham-premier-league-a8044586.html.