The coaching merry go round at Greek Super League leader was set into motion again early this week with the sacking of Paulo Bento and his replacement by Under 20’s coach Vassilis Vouzas as the caretaker coach.
Bento follows Marco Silva and Victor Sanchez as coaches who have sat in the coach’s hot seat at Olympiacos this season. He was appointed in August when the club’s exit from the Champions League 3rd Qualifying round, spelled the end of Sanchez short term.
Despite Olympiacos remaining on course to win the Greek Super League, and contest both the Europa Cup and Greek Cup, Bento paid the ultimate price after the team suffered its third successive league defeat last Sunday, a 2-0 away loss to PAOK. It was the first time in 21 years Olympiacos has suffered three league defeats on the trot, and has cut its previously unassailable lead at the top to just six points from Panionios which has a game in hand.
Bento’s sacking followed recent assurances from the club that his position was safe. But how quickly things can change. The club’s third successive league defeat, followed by Bento’s post match criticism of the club’s decision to allow some of its best players to leave in the January transfer window (including Luka Milivojevic to England and Brown Ideye to China) put Bento at odds with his employees. The day following the loss to PAOK, the out of favour Argentine midfielder Chori Dominguez, who in recent week’s had warmed the bench, publicly called for those responsible for the state of Olympiacos, to be made liable.
Soon after it seems, club owner Vangelis Marinakis issued the ‘Thumbs Down” signal and Bento shown the exit. The coach’s dismissal comes at a hectic time for the Greek champion, coming just ahead of four big games within the space of 10 days. Beginning on Thursday (just passed), it hosted Turkish club Besiktas in a first leg Europa Cup tie, followed by a league match at home to the in-form Atromitos. Olympiacos then travels to Turkey for the second leg of its Europa Cup tie against Besiktas before returning to Athens to take on old rivals Panathinaikos.