Spartak Moscow’s crisis is yet another positive sub-plot for Rangers in their Europa League adventure.
The Russian Premier League side have started the season terribly under Massimo Carrera. The Italian head coach is under real pressure in Moscow, with speculation opening up on Laurent Blanc potentially being his successor.
Spartak have won just one of their last six league games this season. Despite pre-season ambitions of challenging for the title, they languish in fifth place, seven points behind Zenit St Petersburg. It’s a terrible start to the campaign under Carrera, who only spent just over £8million in the summer. Spartak lost key man Quincy Promes to Sevilla, and it’s clearly hit their forward-line.
It would cost the Russian side around £1.5m to sack Carrera, who previously managed Juventus for a very brief period. Outside of that, however, the Italian has no professional managerial experience. He instead has spent time at Juventus, Italy, and Spartak as an assistant coach.
Carrera is expected to be in charge for today’s match against Villarreal. His job, however, appears to be hanging by a thread.
Not the only one under pressure
It appears that the only manager not under severe pressure in this group is Steven Gerrard. Rangers’ new man has been thoroughly impressive on the European stage, despite not having the same form domestically.
Rapid Vienna also recently ditched their manager Goran Djuricin, replacing him with Dietmar Kuhbauer. Not much is known about the Austrian outside of his own country, but he remains a Rapid legend after a successful spell with the club as a player.
Villarreal’s Javier Calleja is also under real pressure early on this season. The Yellow Submarine didn’t see the 2-2 draw at El Madrigal with Rangers as a positive result. That, combined with the fact Villarreal have won just two games out of seven, makes for gloomy reading for Calleja.
If Moscow can get Blanc, however, that would be a massive coup for the Russians. If this was to happen before Rangers faced them at Ibrox on October 25th, the match would be even more challenging.
For now, however, Gerrard can sit and enjoy the news of pressure befalling his opposite numbers. It should only increase the confidence around Ibrox that these sides are there to be got at.
Thursday night remains a huge match for Rangers. Victory, and fans will get that bit more excited about potential qualification.