Multiple media outlets reported that Claude Puel has two games to save his job. But is there any truth to the rumour?
Friday saw Leicester City marginally lose to Manchester United in the Premier League’s first game of 2018/19. Over the weekend sports media proceeded to suggest Foxes manager Claude Puel’s time is running out. Is this feasible?
In addition, reports by ESPN and Mirror claim the 56-year-old’s replacement comes in the unlikely form of Thierry Henry. Not to mention Belgium’s World Cup semi-finals boss Roberto Martinez as an alternative. Henry and Martinez are probably as surprised as us to hear about the likelihood of their pending arrivals.
This first extract from the Mirror has astonished many of the Blue Army:
"“Puel is understood to have just two games to save his job with City chiefs ready to wield the axe ahead during the international break if results continue to go against them.The concern in the Leicester boardroom stems from the team’s finish to last season when they lost five from their last seven games with just one win – and that has left the Frenchman clinging to his job.City now face Wolves at home, Southampton away and Liverpool at home before the first international get-together of the new campaign.” (Via: Mirror Sport)"
News like this is all the more shocking as Leicester City played some of the best attacking and pressure football I have ever seen the club muster in 25+ years. Even in comparison with the Martin O’Neil era and Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning counter-attackers. Leicester’s current manager oversaw his team lose at Old Trafford while creating much entertainment and many chances at goal. Rivalling United until the final whistle.
The former Monaco chief needs ample time to embed his passing-style. He cited to Sky Sports the lack of finishing ability; due partly to non-regularity of playing: “[a] clinical edge [was] needed to finish the good moves we had in the first half.”
Yet the goalscoring opportunities came in abundance on Friday. These improvements are fundamental in the club’s push for consistent top-7 finishes and European qualification. I have described Puel’s philosophy as evolution; as opposed to revolution.
That, in the sense of necessity: if an elder statesman of the team, like a Christian Fuchs is needed – use him in the squad. Contrarily, if a player like Andy King or Danny Simpson does not bring added extra to the side – loan or sell.
Promises about transfers were kept, presumably with the Frenchman having input via the recruitment team. Every Leicester City fan I speak to on social media or in person is extremely satisfied with the club’s summer business. In fact there is as much optimism around the King Power as there was following winning the title in 2016. A subsequent disastrous transfer window left the club having a ‘difficult second season’.
Puel can steady the ship while developing into a top team, if given his chance. Hopefully the City board do not share ESPN’s view:
"“Puel’s security remained uncertain during the summer as Leicester won just one of their last seven games last term.” (Via: ESPN)"
Although he lost the premiership opener, Puel won himself a host of admirers pre-match after making the comment below. Follow us on Twitter for #LCFC related news, humour and team insight.
Now, as a realist, I would be totally open to a Martinez’s proven quality – if Puel is ousted prematurely. Actually if he fails, then it also sounds appealing. I am willing to bet Henry has as much managerial nous as he did genius on the pitch. Yet, it seems slightly fanciful to imagine him in the Leicester City dugout.
2018/19 can bring Europa League entry or a domestic cup win for the Foxes under the current management; I imagine Puel’s demise not to be realistic in the near future. It is what we thought – a rumour. Especially since he just took on a new assistant. However, if Leicester are in a relegation place at Christmas – he will inevitably be sacked!