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Former Tottenham man takes over at Hamburg

last updated Tuesday 27th April 2010, 9:35 AM
Hamburg caretaker Ricardo Moniz
Hamburg caretaker
Ricardo Moniz
Ricardo Moniz took charge of Hamburg in preparation for a pivotal match against Fulham in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday after Bruno Labbadia was sacked by the Bundesliga club.

Labbadia paid the price for his side's poor Bundesliga form by being relieved of his duties after less than 10 months at the helm with his side languishing in seventh in the table.

Sunday's 5-1 defeat at Hoffenheim proved to be the final straw for club bosses, who informed Labbadia of their decision at a crisis meeting, explaining to him they needed to react to salvage something from the season.

"The recent performances against Mainz, Fulham and Hoffenheim have given us the impression that we had to change something," explained the club's chairman Bernd Hoffmann.

"We did it to be able to play a successful game in London on Thursday and reach the final of the Europa League.

"The decision not to carry on with Bruno Labbadia was a tough one to take. He worked with total commitment for this club from the very first to the very last day."

Nevertheless, Hamburg cannot afford to prepare for Thursday's crucial match at Craven Cottage under the storm cloud which has cast its shadows over the club in recent weeks.

An ugly disagreement with goalkeeper and captain Frank Rost last weekend was just one sign Labbadia had lost his respect among the players and, although the coach defiantly declared yesterday his players were not playing against him, the impression was different.

And the decision to appoint Moniz to his first head coaching position was not coincidental either.

The Dutchman arrived at the club together with Martin Jol, with whom he had worked at Tottenham.

"He is knowledgeable about English football and can therefore prepare the team in the best way for Thursday's return leg," added Hoffmann.

"We believe that Ricardo will be able to get that extra percentage out of us which had disappeared recently."

The 45-year-old led his first training session today having been placed in charge of team affairs until the end of the season, and he confirmed Hoffmann's belief in him is not ill-placed.

"If I had not been convinced that we can do it with this team, then I would not have accepted," he said.

"We now have to move up a gear. All that matters now is Thursday."

However, Moniz also regretted he was only given this opportunity because Labbadia had to leave.

"It has been a dramatic day for me too because I respect Bruno a lot as a person and as a coach," he added.

Hamburg's only remaining route into Europe next season appears to be by winning the Europa League next month since they have fallen five points behind the top six in the Bundesliga and only have two games of the season left to play.

They drew 0-0 at home to the Cottagers in the first leg and know they must now score in London to stand any chance of reaching the final, which will be held in their own HSV-Arena on May 12







































































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