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Dugout Blues: Dan Petrescu moves on, Gus Poyet under pressure

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As most the world’s football seasons end, it’s been a largely unsuccessful period for Chelsea players turned managers.

Chelsea v FC Steaua Bucuresti - UEFA Champions League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

PETRESCU HEADING HOME

Dan Petrescu, the former Chelsea wing-back, left his post as manager of Al Nasr at the close of the UAE Arabian Gulf League. Al Nasr was the tenth team the Romanian had managed in the last 13 years. Petrescu’s last game in charge was the final of the President’s Cup, which his team lost 3-0 to Al Wahda.

Prior to that game, Petrescu saw his side finish a disappointing sixth place in the 14 team league. Petrescu’s last two league games were 1-0 losses to both Emirates Club and Al Jazira. In his first and only season in Dubai Petrescu won 50% of his league games, but this wasn’t enough for Al Nasr to extend his time at the club. Instead they hired former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli to take his place.

Prior to his dismissal, Petrescu had hinted that he wanted to leave the desert (and have a run with the Romanian national side). The latest reports out of Romania state that the ‘badger’ (as he is known there) will be returning to home soil, but it will be to continue his career as a club manager.

On June 3rd Prosport.ro reported that Petrescu was negotiating with CFR Cluj about their vacant manager position. Based in Cluj-Napoca, CFR were established in 1907, but their glory years came quite recently. The club won Romania’s Liga 1 in 2007-08, 2009-10, and 2011-12. They also competed in the UEFA Champions League in the 2008-09 season, where they were drawn against Chelsea in the group stages (along with AS Roma and Bordeaux). In the group stages Cluj pulled off a shocking 2-1 win over Roma in Italy and later held Chelsea to a no score draw, though they still failed to advance to the knock-out rounds.

In 2014 Cluj’s finances bottomed out and the club was declared insolvent. A few years of instability followed until the team was declared back on good financial footing at the end of this past season.

If Petrescu does join the team, this will be his sixth posting in Romania. His last gig in his homeland was at ASA Targu Mures, who he managed for just 1 game in 2015 (which he won). After that he joined Jiangsu Suning in China.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

ELSEWHERE

Despite having Carlos Tevez, Obafemi Martins, and Giovanni Moreno in his squad, Gus Poyet is struggling mightily with Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League. The team was winless in the league last month, losing to Guangzhou Evergrande 3-2 on May 5th and city rivals Shanghai SIPG 3-1 on the 20th. In May they were also held to 0-0 draws by Henan Jianye and Guangzhou R&F. In their first game in June, Poyet’s men lost 2-1 at Tianjin Teda. This form has seen the team drop to 12th in the 16 team league. With how much investment Shenhua have put into their side, how much longer can Poyet last with such underwhelming results?

In England there was disappointment for another Dugout Blue. After scrapping their way into the Championship play-offs Fulham lost their first round match-up with Reading (who would then lost to Huddersfield in the final). Slavisa Jokanovic’s side drew 1-1 with Reading in the first leg at Craven Cottage, but they couldn’t score in the second leg, meaning a single goal for Reading at the Madejski was enough to crush the Cottagers’ Premier League dreams for another season. Despite the team failing to get promoted, the players, fans, and board all seem very happy with the work the former Chelsea midfielder is doing on the touchline. However, there is a chance that Slav gets poached in the near future with Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough allegedly interested in his services.

The only other Dugout Blue who had a game recently was Didier Deschamps. His French side pasted Paraguay 5-0 in a friendly on June 2nd.

RUMOUR ROUND-UP

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s name came up yet again for a vacant manager job. The former Burton and QPR boss was considered by Crawley Town (according to The Crawley Obvserver). However, former Leeds and Liverpool star Harry Kewell would take the gig at the League Two club.

One of JFH’s old teammates - GIanfranco Zola - is also being linked to a new club. Weeks after he stepped away from Birmingham City, The Birmingham Mail reported (via L’Equipe) that French Ligue 1 side St Etienne were interested in the Sardinian.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH

With Petrescu possibly making his way to CFR Cluj, this month’s video is CFR’s match with Chelsea from 2008. Chelsea needed to beat the Romanians at Stamford Bridge to make it out the Champions League group stages. It was a tense affair, especially after Cluj canceled out Solomon Kalou’s first half opener in the 55th minute. All would end well for the Blues, though. In the 71st minute Didier Droba latched onto a trademark Frank Lampard through-ball to score the winning goal.

The action can be seen here, on footytube.com.