Football: Monaco changes (again) coach

The Spaniard Robert Moreno, who arrived in the Principality at the end of 2019, was fired on Saturday. He will be replaced by Croatian Niko Kovac, ex-Bayern Munich coach.

He had been an ephemeral coach of the Spanish national team. He was no less ephemeral coach of the Monaco team. The Spaniard Robert Moreno, 42, was sacked on Saturday July 18 by the principality’s club. He will be replaced by Croatian Niko Kovac, ex-Bayern Munich coach, sources close to the club have told Agence France-Presse (AFP), confirming information from L’Equipe .

Robert Moreno arrived in Monaco in December 2019. He replaced the Portuguese Leonardo Jardim, who, after being sacked in October 2018, had been dismissed a second time: returned to the Monegasque bench, he had not succeeded in to put the team back where its Russian owner, Dmitri Rybolovlev, and his representative within the club, Oleg Petrov, dreamed of it being, that is to say in the very first of Ligue 1, also cutting each other of its players.

The arrival in the Principality of Robert Moreno was a little surprise . At 42, this Catalan came out of a first and only successful experience as a main coach. From June 19 to November 19, 2019, he had provided an interim head of the Spanish national team, of which he was until then the assistant coach. Under his leadership, La Roja had totaled four wins and two draws in six games, qualifying for Euro 2020

Ten contested matches

Niko Kovac was the coach of Bayern Munich until November 2019.
Niko Kovac was the coach of Bayern Munich until November 2019. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP

On the Rock, Robert Moreno’s mission was to qualify the club again for the Champions League – and thus benefit from the income provided by this competition, a significant windfall for a club’s finances.

Covid-19 crisis requires, he will ultimately only have led about ten Ligue 1 matches. And if, on his arrival, Monaco was seventh in Ligue 1 (7 points from third qualifying place for the flagship competition European), the club finished ninth (10 points from third place) in a championship shortened by ten days, totaling under its baton, five wins, three draws, five losses.

The Monegasque leaders, who recruited in the meantime, in June, a new sports director in the person of the Englishman Paul Mitchell (he had previously supervised the various clubs of the Red Bull brand, including Salzburg and Leipzig), were waiting more regarding the game developed and the results. They felt that Robert Moreno was not in a position to take the team through this course.

However, during the presentation of the season on July 6, Paul Mitchell asked “for time” and explained to work “so that Robert (Moreno) can go towards success” . “There have been a lot of changes in the players, in the management. But these necessary changes were for the good of the club. Now that they have been achieved at management level, I don’t think there are many yet ,  said Oleg Petrov, the club’s vice-president.

At 48 years old, Niko Kovac, comes out of an experience listened to at Bayern Munich: he was sacked by the German club in November 2019 due to the poor results at the start of the season and repeated tensions with some of the players.

Previously, he was mainly known for having put the Frankfurt team back on its feet, where, arriving in 2016, he won his first trophy as a coach (the German Cup against Bayern Munich) and clinched a qualification for the Europa League.

Niko Kovac will aim to stabilize a club that has not shown anything, or almost, since its title of champion of France 2017.