Clarence Seedorf replaces Cristobal Parralo at Deportivo La Corunaby Colin Millar / 06 February 2018, 09:23Tweet
The fate of Deportivo La Coruna this season hangs very much in the balance.
With only two points from their last seven league games ensuring their slide into La Liga’s bottom three, it may be easy to assume that this is a decline which they may not have been able to reverse. Not Cristobal Parralo, in any case. The man who was promoted from the club’s B team to replace the dismissed Pepe Mel in September won just three games and suffered nine defeats in 15 outings.
A recent heavy 7-1 landslide defeat at Real Madrid and letting slip a two-goal lead in the closing stages at home to struggling Levante brought great scrutiny to Parralo’s position going into Friday night’s trip to Real Sociedad. Up against a side who had won just three of their last 18 league games, a result was needed. Depor shipped five unanswered goals. In their seven-game winless run, the Galician club had conceded 24 times.
The axe would inevitably fall upon the manager, while the search had already begun for his successor. According to reports in Diario AS, Martin Lasarte – an experienced Uruguayan coach who played for Depor in the early 1990s – was number one choice but rejected the opportunity, while fellow Uruguayan Diego Alonso did not hold the requisite badges. So the club turned to legendary Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf.
Most well-known for his playing stints at Real Madrid, Inter and Milan, the mercurial playmaker then managed the Rossoneri for 22 games in 2014, winning half, while also coaching Chinese side Shenzhen in the latter half of 2016. His records do not strongly indicate either way whether his long-term future should lie in management or not. Perhaps his profile fits a club who are in position to take a risk, yet Depor’s precarious position suggests any gamble of that nature may be ill-judged.
Perhaps this is a move which may have carried more logic at the beginning of a campaign, but beyond the PR impact of Seedorf’s profile being in the dugout at Estadio Riazor, there is nothing which obviously suggests this is a natural move. If anything, Depor need an experienced head in the dugout – someone who is capable of motivating players, tightening up the defence and transforming them into a competent and functioning outfit. Yet in the Dutchman’s 36 managerial matches to date, his sides yielded a total of 50 goals.
This appointment, as with Parralo’s, appears to be the cheap, easy option. The short-term one too?
Perhaps, but inheriting the side who have looked Spain’s most vulnerable since the turn of the year is a massive challenge. Depor are a side with quality players at their disposal, with the January addition of playmaker Mikhael Krohn-Dehli a savvy move. But now they have conceded more goals than any other side in the top flight and the late surrendering of their advantage at home to Levante pointed to a vulnerable and a fragile underbelly.
Tasking Seedorf with stiffening up a defence and grinding out results is a big ask, but should they remain in the division the Dutchman’s stock in coaching circles will undoubtedly receive a significant rise.