Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Wolfsburg sacks Steve McClaren

AFP, BERLIN

Ex-England coach Steve McClaren was sacked on Monday by Bundesliga side Wolfsburg after just seven months in charge with his side just one point off from the relegation zone.

The 49-year-old became the first English manager to coach in the Bundesliga in August, but McClaren has been dismissed in the wake of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hanover, when he criticized star player Diego for missing a penalty.

McClaren’s co-trainer Pierre Littbarski will take over as caretaker coach.

“We were no longer sure that we could work with Steve McClaren until the end of the season with some stability,” director of sport Dieter Hoeness said in a statement. “We have tried to make things work for as long as possible, but we have lost faith that we can bring success.”

Having coached FC Twente to last season’s Dutch title, McClaren took charge of the 2009 Bundesliga champions before the start of the season, but his team have -struggled throughout.

Despite being given a vote of confidence and allowed to go on a spending spree last month, McClaren’s sacking can be blamed on his team’s league position of 12th — just a point keeps them from 16th and the bottom three.

“Our main concern now is to widen the gap between us and the relegation zone as soon as possible,” Hoeness said.

After McClaren sold star striker Edin Dzeko to Manchester City last month for 34 million euros (US$46.4 million), he splashed Wolfsburg’s cash in a bid to improve his team’s faltering league position.

Attacking midfielders Koo Ja-cheoul of South Korea and Venezuelan Yohandry Orozco, German international Patrick Helmes, Turkish international striker Tuncay Sanli and Jan Polak were all brought in.

However, Saturday’s defeat was the final straw as McClaren slammed Diego for disregarding his order to let Germany striker Patrick Helmes take an 80th-minute penalty, which the Brazilian then missed.

“The players argued about it like kids in a playground,” Hoeness said. “And because of that we were beaten in a match that we should never have lost.”

McClaren was sacked as England manager after the Three Lions failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

He was dubbed “The Wally with the Brolly” by the British media after using an umbrella during heavy rain at Wembley in November 2007 during his final game in charge when his team were beaten by Croatia.

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