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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Zamalek boss McLeish in hot water over unconvincing displays

Zamalek boss Alex McLeish is almost certain to leave the club, with president Mortada Mansour far from impressed with the first-team displays

Omar Zaazou , Thursday 28 Apr 2016
McLeish
Zamalek boss Alex McLeish (Photo: Zamalek official website)
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Zamalek manager Alex McLeish’s days with team are seemingly numbered after a string of unconvincing displays failed to impress the club's board.

An lackluster 1-0 home win over league strugglers Haras El-Hodoud has reportedly infuriated club chief Mortada Mansour – who is now seriously pondering sacking the Scottish tactician according to local reports.

Having taken charge of Zamalek on 26 February, McLeish led the club in a total of five league games, where he lost twice and drew once.

On the African front, however, the former English Premier League manager looks to be faring well after guiding the Whites to the Champions League group-stage.

It is the club's domestic displays that seem to have disappointed the board, however, with the league holders now 11 points behind leaders and arch-rivals Ahly.

McLeish's league record could have indeed been better had he not insisted on taking charge of the club against El-Entag El-Harby just a few days after his appointment.

A 3-1 defeat to a 10-man Entag spoiled his debut, as the gap with leaders Ahly extended to a massive 11 points.

Zamalek followed the reverse with a convincing 2-0 victory over Arab Contractors, but it was the next two games that all but dashed the Cairo giants' hopes of retaining the league title.

A dismal 1-0 home loss to Ismaily and another goalless stalemate with Dakhleya with 11 matches remaining means that Zamalek will now vie for a Champions League-qualifying second spot.

Then came their below-par performance against second-from-bottom Hodoud to further convince the board that the ex-Rangers manager is not quite capable of leading a turnaround in his side's displays.     

The 57-year-old tactician seems to be struggling to find a suitable scheme for the Whites, as he has been switching between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 model.

He has reshuffled his lineup several times in order to find a good and efficient combination, but that is still a work-in-progress.

It seems, however, that club chief Mansour, who has already fired three managers this season, is running out of patience, though McLeish's release clause is seemingly the only obstacle.

With Zamalek almost out of the domestic league title race and with the Champions League resuming in June, the Egypt Cup seems to be McLeish's last chance of retaining his post.

Zamalek face Ittihad El-Shorta in the competition's last-16, and whether McLeish will be shown the door before or after the upcoming cup fixture remains to be seen.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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