Saturday 16 December 2017

Swansea sack Francesco Guidolin and replace him with Bob Bradley rather than Ryan Giggs

Swansea have acted swiftly to replace Francesco Guidolin
Swansea have acted swiftly to replace Francesco Guidolin

John Percy

Francesco Guidolin has been sacked by Swansea City and replaced by Bob Bradley, after the club opted against offering the job to Ryan Giggs.

Swansea have sprung a surprise by naming Bradley, the former coach of the United States, as their new manager after ending Guidolin’s nine-month reign on the Italian’s 61st birthday.

Guidolin became the first Premier League casualty of the season following four defeats in a row, discovering his fate in Italy after flying home for what was planned to be a short break.

Swansea’s new owners, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, moved swiftly for a replacement and gave Bradley the chance to revive the club’s season, ensuring that the 58-year-old will become the first American to manage in the top flight.

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins interviewed Bradley last week, before the 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool which left the club 17th in the table, while Manchester United legend Giggs also held talks with the hierarchy.

Giggs met the board in a London hotel last Thursday while there were also discussions with Paul Clement, the former Derby County manager, but Bradley emerged as the preferred choice and will be ­officially introduced at the Liberty Stadium later this week. His first game will be a daunting trip to ­Arsenal a week on Saturday.

Though some Swansea supporters have expressed disappointment with the new manager, it is understood that Bradley was hugely impressive in his talks with the club, demonstrating a full understanding of the current squad and explaining his training regime in detail.

His vast experience, after five years in charge of the US, strong personality and leadership qualities also meant he became the obvious candidate to replace Guidolin at the Welsh club.

Kaplan and Levien have also kept a close eye on Bradley after his ­sensitive handling of the Port Said stadium disaster, in which 74 people were killed as a result of rioting, while in charge of the Egypt national team. He left the role after taking Egypt to the brink of the World Cup, losing in a play-off for the 2014 tournament to Ghana.

He had a short spell at Norway’s Stabaek before joining French ­second division club Le Havre in November 2015.

Jenkins said: “He is highly regarded as a coach and has a wealth of experience on the international and domestic front. He is well aware of the club’s footballing philosophy and will provide us with strong leadership qualities and a renewed belief to compete at this level. It is never easy changing managers, but we are looking at a long-term appointment and we are confident Bob can settle us down and stabilise matters on and off the pitch.”

Guidolin’s position had been precarious for weeks and Jenkins failed to mention him in his programme notes for the game against Liverpool on Saturday.

He was appointed as interim manager in January after Garry Monk was sacked and landed a two-year deal in the summer after guiding Swansea to safety. But results and performances have been largely disappointing since the American owners completed their £100 million takeover in July and the defeat by Liverpool leaves them above of the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Their only league win was on the opening day against Burnley and there have been concerns within the club over Guidolin’s methods and preparations for games and training. Eyebrows were raised in pre-season when he allegedly missed training sessions to watch the Tour de France on television.

Guidolin’s backroom team, consisting of Diego Bortoluzzi, Gabriele Ambrosetti and Claudio Bordon have also left the club. Jenkins said: “We are obviously disappointed to part company with Francesco. We felt he ­deserved his opportunity after the work he did last season.

“Unfortunately we have not been able to carry performances over from last season and we felt we needed to change things as soon as possible to move forward in a positive way.”

Swansea also have tough games coming up against Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur over the next two months.

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