Win or Bust? Why it’s crunch time for Sabri Lamouchi, Phillip Cocu and Kenny Jackett

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 02 October 2020, 09:34

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, the ‘sacking season’ starts to creep up on us.

It’s a term used to describe the period in October/November when suddenly an avalanche of managerial departures take place. For example, last season four EFL managers were gone in the space of eight chaotic days in early October.

The start of the current campaign was of course delayed, but already a trio of Football League managers find themselves under-pressure, and with the international break just around the corner - a traditionally perilous fortnight for managers feeling the heat - it could well prove to be a case of win or bust this weekend...

Sabri Lamouchi (Nottingham Forest)

Why is he under pressure?

Nottingham Forest’s shocking collapse at the tail end of last season coupled with a sorry start to the new term has thrust Sabri Lamouchi under the managerial microscope.

Forest have lost their last six successive matches in all competitions, they haven’t won at all in 10 games dating back three months, and have failed to hit the back of the net in nearly seven hours of football.

Lamouchi’s cautious and defensive style of football isn’t exactly sitting well with supporters either.

Are there any positives?

Despite last season’s ill-timed shambles, Forest still finished in their highest position for nine years. 

During the summer Lamouchi made a raft of changes, so it’s always going to take a bit of time for the team to gel. But whether the Frenchman will get more time is open to debate.

Such is the trigger-happy nature of the club that Lamouchi is already Forest’s longest-serving manager since Dougie Freedman (2015-16), while he’s only a handful of games away from become the longest-serving forest gaffer since Billy Davies’ first spell between 2009 and 2011 - which would be an achievement, of sorts...

What’s next?

Joint leaders Bristol City, who have a 100% winning record to date.

A seven successive defeat would plunge Lamouchi’s job into even greater jeopardy.

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Sabri Lamouchi has lost his last six games at Nottingham Forest

Phillip Cocu

Why is he under pressure?

Derby were hammered 4-0 at home to Blackburn last weekend as their nightmare start to the season continued. The Rams have lost each of their opening three Championship games, and were booted out of the Carabao Cup by Preston.

“I think today a big part of our defeat was our attitude, our passion, willingness and desire to defend and track down,” Phillip Cocu said after the Blackburn bashing.

“You can talk about tactics but in any system it’s about how you execute it and if you concede three goals in four minutes, I think that says enough.”

If you count the poor end to the previous season, Derby have only registered four points from a possible 27 up for grabs.

Are there any positives?

Wayne Rooney is not yet fully fit but when he’s back in shape expect an upturn in performances. Kamil Jozwiak needs time to bed in, while it’s hoped Jordon Ibe will feature soon. 

Also, from the manager’s perspective, he’s still got just under three years left on his contract, so it would cost the club a fair sum of money if they were thinking of pulling the plug.

What’s next?

A tough visit to Norwich City, who are unbeaten in their last 11 Championship fixtures at Carrow Road. 

Kenny Jackett

Why is he under pressure?

It may have only been Portsmouth’s first home league defeat in nearly 17 months, but last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Wigan saw ripples of criticism towards Kenny Jackett turn into waves of anger.

The 11th longest-serving EFL manager has yet to win a League One match this season - or since February for that matter - while his troops have only scored once. Not great stats for one of the ante-post favourites for promotion, which has led to strong suggestions that after back-to-back play-off disappointments Jackett has sailed Pompey as far as he can.

Some fans are even planning a 'friendly passionate protest' for Jackett to be sacked.

Are there any positives?

For Jackett, he’s survived worst spells at Portsmouth.

At the beginning of 2019 he didn’t win in eight league games, between the backend of 2018/19 and the start of 2019/20 he won only one of 12 league games, and more recently at the start of 2020 he responded to a run of two wins in six games in all competitions with a streak of nine straight wins.

What’s next?

A league trip to Burton, followed by a visit to struggling Southend in the cup.

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