Bruno Lage, the Portuguese coach, has been sacked by Botafogo after just 15 games. Despite the team being in the lead in the Brasileirão, with a 7-point advantage over the second-placed team, Red Bull Bragantino.
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Bruno Lage’s Statistics with Botafogo
As mentioned, Bruno Lage bids farewell to Botafogo after only 15 matches.
More remarkable than the short period of work is the circumstances in which the coach was dismissed.
Botafogo remains in first place in the Brazilian Championship, a fact that was unexpected even for the most passionate fans of Fogão (Botafogo).
Let’s look at the numbers. There were 15 games played, with 4 wins, 7 draws, and 4 losses.
The performance, from a numerical standpoint, could already be considered weak. But if we also consider the lack of wins, we can see why his dismissal is justifiable.
Under his command, Botafogo once held a 13-point lead over the second-placed team, which was Flamengo at the time, after 15 rounds of the Brazilian Championship.
Since then, over the course of 10 games, that lead has nearly halved to 7 points. Now, Red Bull Bragantino is closely chasing Botafogo, as previously discussed in our text.
To make matters worse, Botafogo was eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana under Bruno Lage’s leadership.
Although the competition was not the club’s main focus, the elimination to Defensa y Justicia, a team much inferior both in terms of organization and investment, left a mark.
Additionally, Botafogo had been in an extremely goal-scoring phase. Under the command of Luis Castro, they scored 70 goals in 39 matches. If we narrow it down to the Brazilian Championship, they scored 20 goals in 12 games.
Under Bruno Lage’s leadership, they managed to score only 19 goals in 15 games, showing a sharp drop in offensive production. This was partly due to the injury of Tiquinho Soares, the team’s main striker, which sidelined him for an important period.
Not only did the attack decline, but Botafogo’s defense also became less stable under Bruno Lage. Once very solid under Luis Castro, with only 7 goals conceded in 12 Brazilian Championship games, Fogão conceded 9 goals in 10 games under Lage.
Image: Vitor Silva/Botafogo
The goal difference, which was +13 under Castro, became +6 under Lage.
Moreover, the team’s performance began to decline. The attractive and efficient style of play was no longer evident. The team started giving away space to opponents, and the counter-attacks weren’t as well-constructed.
For these reasons, John Textor and the Botafogo board decided to discontinue Lage’s work.
Lage’s Decline at the Helm of Botafogo
At first, things went well. Very well, in fact.
Bruno Lage chose not to make major changes to the system implemented by Luis Castro, nor in the players used.
As a result, they managed to go on a 6-game unbeaten streak. In his debut, in a tough game where Santos initially led 2-0 at Vila Belmiro, Botafogo showed determination and managed to equalize the match, even coming close to winning it in the final moments.
Following that, still using the same system, they achieved a resounding 4-1 victory over Coritiba. There was also a dominant 3-1 win against Internacional and a 3-0 win over Bahia.
The last great performance of Botafogo under Lage was against Bahia.
After that, it was all downhill. Botafogo, in the following game, lost to Defensa y Justicia 2-1 in Argentina and was eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana. Bruno Lage had rested most of the first-choice players since the next match was the Flamengo derby.
Against Flamengo, Botafogo suffered their first home defeat in the Brasileirão. Bruno Henrique played brilliantly and carried Flamengo to a 2-1 victory.
In this match, Bruno Lage received heavy criticism for his management of the game, as Bruno Henrique outperformed the young right-back JP Galvão. Without an apparent reason, he benched Di Placido, who had been having an outstanding season.
The outcome was the worst possible. Bruno Henrique pulled off an incredible dribble against JP Galvão and scored a beautiful long-range shot to seal Flamengo’s victory.
After that game, there were 3 winless matches, including a loss to Atlético Mineiro, a loss to Corinthians, who were struggling in the Brazilian Championship, and a draw against Goiás, who were in the relegation zone.
This was the breaking point for Textor, who decided to sack the coach.
Now, names of potential replacements for the position are starting to circulate. According to the portal 90 Minutos, the top 5 candidates are: Hermán Crespo, who is currently without a club after leaving Al-Duhail (QAT). Maurício Barbieri, who had successful seasons with Red Bull Bragantino but was dismissed from Vasco during the middle of the Brasileirão.
Another candidate is Marcelo Gallardo, the legendary River Plate coach who has been out of work since leaving the Argentine club.
Finally, Carlos Carvalhal and André Villas-Boas are also strong contenders behind the scenes at Glorioso (Botafogo).
Image: Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images
Written by Vitor F L Miller.