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December 22, 2014

Soccer — Domestic league

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poor results lead Angelici to sack Bianchi

Carlos Bianchi (right) leaves Boca Juniors’ facilities after being fired as the team’s coach.
By Francisco Aldaya
for the Herald

Boca Juniors president says new coach will be announced today

Regardless of his claim to fame as Boca Juniors’ most successful ever coach, Carlos Bianchi’s sacking yesterday evening was the right decision.

Earlier in the day several media outlets had reported that the Viceroy’s conclave with Boca President Daniel Angelici following his team’s third loss in this tournament’s first four fixtures had ended as expected, with black smoke puffing out of the chimney at the Casa Amarilla complex. Bianchi was to stay on, convinced that he could turn around the woes of the La Ribera club.

But it wasn’t just the 3-1 defeat to Estudiantes de la Plata on Wednesday night, or the two home defeats to Newell’s Old Boys and Atlético Rafaela, which finally pushed Angelici to press the red button.

Last season’s second place finish threw a veil over the crisis of a team that for two years never came close to exerting a clear philosophy, or even the idea of one, on the pitch. Indeed, Boca placed second from bottom the tournament prior.

With eternal rivals River Plate playing arguably the most attractive soccer seen in the Argentine league in the last five years, if not more, the unhealed wounds of crushing defeats — including a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the lowly San Martín de San Juan in April last year — ultimately proved terminal, and save for a steak of wins at the end of the Torneo Inicial, Bianchi never gave a hint of being able to remedy the situation.

The picture was black and white. An institution as large as Boca cannot see meager results for two consecutive years, particularly when the team plays poorly.

“Carlos took the risk, and came back to the club for the third time. Our gratitude as fans will always be there,” Angelici said at a news conference at 7pm.

“This was the hardest decision, and the toughest day I have had since I was elected ... (and) we hope the fans understand that the decision was made with the best intentions for the club in mind.”

Angelici said Bianchi had come to his house to talk in the morning. “He wanted to go on, he felt strong. I listened to him, met with him after seeing him at my house, and we felt the need to make this urgent decision before Sunday.”

“We had the chance in June to terminate his contract, but we believed he could turn around the situation.”

Grateful for what the Viceroy achieved with El Xeneize over the years — three Libertadores, four local titles and two Intercontinental cups (now called the Club World Cup) — Angelici emphasized the “club is above everyone: the directors, the coach and the players.”

Only this summer the club’s president seemingly decided against keeping on another Boca idol, Juan Román Riquelme, who instead signed for Argentinos Juniors in an apparent conflict of interests.

“I would prefer that the fans insult me and not the players,” he said, asked about the chants against him heard at La Bombonera over the last few matches.

The uncertainty that currently reigns at Casa Amarilla won’t last for long, however, with Angelici confirming that he expects to announce El Xeneize’s new manager today.

“We will be meeting with a few of the candidates tomorrow, but we expect to announce Boca’s new coach tomorrow (today), there will be no transition period.”

Angelici said “a new cycle will begin, as we have the Sudamericana Cup coming up, and we’re only at the fourth fixture of the tournament.”

“We are going to bring in a coach who can turn around the poor results we have been seeing. “

Even though Boca fans unanimously supported the Viceroy and chanted in his favour during matches, murmurs recognizing the need for change had begun to be heard around La Bombonera. Fans may have preferred that Bianchi resign himself, but a sense of relief was certainly felt in La Boca yesterday.

@franma1990

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