This article first appeared on Yahoo! Sports China
The cover of this week’s Beijing Guoan’s matchday program, just released yesterda, features manager Jaime Pacheco on the cover. The program is very closely tied to the club, so is this a show of support for the struggling manager or a memorial? Looking at the media reports, it seems more like the latter.
Pacheco is currently on the hot seat, not completely without reason. Over the past 10 matches, the club has two victories, one draw, and seven losses. What’s worse is that a team known for its defense has been leaking goals, no performance worse than Saturday night’s crushing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Shandong Luneng. Pacheco’s decision making, his insistence on taking off defenders and bringing on attackers, his match strategies, and his starting lineup (especially his insistence on using Zhang Xizhe) have regularly been questioned by fans of the club.
All that in mind, it’s nearly impossible to find a fan who would like to see the manager fired. Realistically, this year’s Guoan side was never going to contend for the league title and while the CFA Cup exit may have been premature, the club is still in contention for third place and the final Asian Champions League spot. Add that to his success with the club last season and it should be enough to convince the club’s management that they should have some faith in Pacheco.
Changing managers isn’t something that should be done on a whim. Just look at the teams that have changed managers midseason this year,
Shanghai Shenhua haven’t improved since firing Jean Tigana and Guangzhou Evergrande have struggled somewhat lately under Marcello Lippi. In Shandong, the club stuck with Henk ten Cate despite tough times early on and now that move has started paying dividends.
Things have been tough lately, but there’s no reason to think that Pacheco won’t be able to turn things around. His moves have shown pains of desperation in the last few matches, made even worse when result after result doesn’t go his way. However, he’s an excellent manager who has gotten the best out of a number of players, especially two newer members of the national team, Wang Xiaolong and Yu Yang.
It’s when times are hard that we need to double down with our support. The knife floating above Pacheco’s head appears to be getting perilously close and it’s starting to feel a lot like 2009 when Li Jangsoo was fired. That decision was hated by many, firing Pacheco now would create an even greater backlash.
The fans believe in Pacheco, it’s time for the club to state their belief in him as well.