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Dugout Blues: Mutu becomes a manager, Poyet feels the pressure

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Another former Chelsea player steps into football management (with one of his old clubs). Meanwhile, yet more ex-Blues are fighting for their jobs in the dugout.

Chelsea Training Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

MUTU THE (GENERAL) MANAGER

After being linked to a couple of jobs in world football (including a post in Iraq) Adrian Mutu, who hung up his boots earlier this year, has taken his first step into football management.

On October 12th he was announced as the General Manager of Dinamo Bucaresti (per Sky Sports News), a team he played for between 1999 and 2000 (scoring an incredible 22 goals in just 33 appearances) before being poached by Inter Milan.

Mutu payed up front for Chelsea in 27 games between 2003 and 2004 before his Blues career was cut short by a drugs test failure. The fallout from that incident dogged the remainder of Mutu’s career as Chelsea pursued the player for millions of Euros in compensation.

It’s not exactly clear what Mutu’s duties as GM will be at Dinamo. Currently Mutu does not hold the requisite coaching qualifications to actually manage Dinamo (who have Ionut Negoita as their gaffer right now). However, Mutu is on his way to earning the right badges and it seems likely that once qualified he could replace Negoita in the dugout.

"It's an honour for me that Dinamo offered me the chance to debut in a role so important and I thank Mr. Negoita for this huge challenge in my career," Mutu, told reporters, who added that he wished to repay the trust shown in him by Negoita and the Dinamo board.

In their first match with Mutu occupying that strange space between the dugout and the boardroom, Dinamo Bucaresti were disappointing. On October 17th they fell 2-1 away to title chasing CSU Craiova. On the 22nd, at home, Dinamo were much better, pounding Pandurii 4-0.

Dinamo are now 5th in the 14 team strong Liga 1 with 19 points. Leading the way are Romanian giants, and bitter rivals to Dinamo, Steaua Bucuresti who have 27 points.

ELSEWHERE

Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

In Spain, Gus Poyet and his Real Betis side were powerless to stop Real Madrid on October 15th, who thrashed the Verdiblancos 6-1 in front of the home fans. In August Betis also let in 6 goals versus Barcelona.

The team did show signs of life a week later though. On the 21st, away to Osasuna, Poyet’s men ran out 2-1 winners, taking them to 12th in La Liga (though only 3 points from the relegation zone).

After suffering a series of shocking defeats (including one to city rivals Sevilla) Football Espana reported that Poyet had received the ominous vote of confidence from the Betis board. Football Espana also reported that in response to questions over his job, Poyet gave a laid back response. “I like the pressure,” said the Uruguayan ahead of the Osasuna match. “You never stop learning as a manager and this is what is happening now — my thoughts, my ideas, my work... it’s constantly evolving and growing.”

Another former Chelsea midfielder whose team is disappointing in the league is Slavisa Jokanovic who has Fulham stuck at 14th in the Championship table. On October 22nd the Cottagers slumped to a 1-0 defeat away to a Roberto Di Matteo-less Aston Villa. Before this, on the 18th, Fulham drew 2-2 at home to Norwich. And before that, the team finally produced something exciting, a 4-2 away victory over Barnsley.

One spot above Fulham is QPR, who, according to The Guardian, have announced that after an investigation the club are fully backing manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink — he was caught up a few weeks back in the same undercover stings that cost Sam Allardyce his job. On October 22nd, JFH’s men lost to Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 away. On the 18th, they beat Bristol City at Loftus Road 1-0. On the 15th, they were held 1-1 by Reading, also at home.

In Scotland, David Hopkin and Livingston are still chasing first place in League One. They are just a point off of leaders Brechin. On the 22nd, Livi beat third place team Alloa 3-1 at home. On the 15th, they slipped up, losing 2-1 to Albion Rovers.

Back in England and the Vanarama Conference North, Kevin Wilson is struggling to match last season’s impressive league position with Nuneaton. Whereas last term the Boro came just a few points short of the play-offs, this year they are mired in 18th place. On the 22nd, they drew 2-2 away with Gainsborough and on the 15th, they lost 2-1 away to Fylde.

Below Nuneaton, the management team of Ritchie Hanlon and Paul Hughes have Kings Langley in 16th place in the Southern Premier League. On October 22nd, they drew 1-1 at Cambridge City, before that they lost 3-0 away to Basingstoke and 2-1 at home to Hitchin.

And below them, Mickey Hazard’s Hadley are also 16th in their league, the South Midlands Spartan League’s Premier Division. They lost at home to Berkhamsted 1-0 on the 22nd. Before that they lost 2-1 at FC Broxbourne Borough, drew 1-1 at Hoddesdon Town, and lost at home to Edgware Town.

RUMOUR MILL

According to reports out of France, Boudewijn Zenden — who wore Chelsea blue from 2001 to 2004 and was later assistant manager to Rafael Benitez during his interim tenure — has been linked to top-flight French side Olimpique de Marseille. Bolo played for L’OM in 2007-2009 before joining Sunderland in his last act as a player. He’s been the assistant manager at Jong PSV (PSV Eindhoven’s reserve side) since 2013.

According to BFMTV, while appearing on a French radio station, Zenden was questioned over his future and whether he would like the top job at L’OM should Rudi Garcia be let go. “It would be a great honour,” said Zenden, who then conceded that he probably needed a little more experience before being considered a serious contender for such a position.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

I’ve shared footage of Adrian Mutu’s 10 Chelsea goals before, so instead let’s watch some of the Romanian strikers best goals in Serie A, courtesy of Kalo Productions. Watch if you dare being confronted with a feeling of what could have been had Mutu and Chelsea decided to work together instead of against one another in the wake of the player’s very public fall from grace.