French league club Marseille fires coach Gennaro Gattuso: Report

AP , Monday 19 Feb 2024

Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso has been fired by the French league club, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.

Gattuso
Marseille s head coach Gennaro Gattuso shouts during the French League One soccer match between Nice and Marseille at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, on Oct. 21, 2023. AP

 

Gattuso was fired a day after Marseille lost 1-0 to 10-man Brest in the league, a result that dented the club’s hopes of qualifying for a European competition next season.

Marseille and Gattuso have started a legal proceeding to part ways and the club is actively looking for a replacement, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Gattuso’s departure has not been announced by the club.

Marseille is ninth in the standings after 22 matches, trailing leader Paris Saint-Germain by 23 points.

Marseille needs to bounce back quickly to say in contention on the European stage this season. The nine-time French champions take on Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday at the Stade Vélodrome in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round playoff. The teams drew 2-2 in the first leg.

Gattuso, the former AC Milan and Italy midfielder, was hired as coach in September. He replaced Spanish coach Marcelino, who stood down after just a handful of games amid tensions between management and supporters.

Marseille dominated French soccer in the late 1980s and early 1990s, winning the Champions League in 1993. It won its last French title in 2010 and has since seen the emergence of bitter rival PSG as the new dominant force in French soccer.

After a difficult start in Marseille, Gattuso ditched his plans of playing with a four-man defense and switched to a more flexible three-man back line with greater scope for wide players. The change in strategy paid dividends and Marseille enjoyed a good spell in December that was crowned by four consecutive league wins.

But the upturn did not last as Marseille followed that up with a six-match winless run in the league, losing two of its last three games.

Gattuso previously coached Milan, Napoli and most recently Spanish club Valencia. As a player, Gattuso won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and two league titles and two Champions League trophies with AC Milan, where he played 468 games and scored 11 goals. His only goal in 73 appearances for Italy was a fierce 25-meter strike against England in a 1-0 win in November 2000.

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