Bielsa suspended by struggling Lille

AFP
The Argentine returned to France this summer for a second spell in Ligue 1, following a previous stint at Marseille in 2014 and 2015, but has failed to deliver results at Lille.
AFP

Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa was suspended by Lille on Wednesday after a dreadful start to the French season, the struggling Ligue 1 club announced.

Lille is second from bottom after just three wins in 13 matches under Bielsa, with the 62-year-old "suspended momentarily as coach" pending further announcement, according to a statement on the Lille website.

Bielsa was due to hold a press conference on Thursday ahead of Saturday's trip to Montpellier, but there was no confirmation from the club whether it would go ahead as planned.

According to French sports daily L'Equipe, Lille club officials met in London on Wednesday and reached a decision to part ways with Bielsa.

But reports in South America claimed Bielsa had left for Chile to be at the bedside of cancer-stricken former assistant Luis Maria Bonini, prompting his suspension.

The Argentine returned to France this summer for a second spell in Ligue 1, following a previous stint at Marseille between 2014 and 2015, but has failed to deliver results at Lille despite the club investing more than 60 million euros (US$70.9 million) in the transfer market.

Lille appeared to have halted its plight with back-to-back wins over Metz and Saint-Etienne, but Monday's alarming 0-3 defeat at newly-promoted Amiens plunged it back into the automatic relegation places.

"As for my job, this result increases my share of the responsibility because the difference in quality between the two sides was clearly in our favor," Bielsa said after the loss to Amiens.

"If the team with less talented players wins 3-0 against us, it is my responsibility."

Lille hired the enigmatic Argentine to front an ambitious project under new owner Gerard Lopez, but its latest loss sent the 2011 champion back 19th in the table with just 12 points from 13 matches.

Bielsa said this month he "would not resign from Lille for any reason", but his future looks in serious doubt, with the club also set to go to third-placed Lyon next weekend, ahead of a trip to leader Paris Saint-Germain on December 9.

AFP

Lille head coach Marcelo Bielsa looks on during the French Ligue 1 match against Saint-Etienne at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, northern France, on November 17, 2017. Struggling Lille suspended Bielsa from his position on November 22, 2017.

Special Reports
Top