The long search for the vacant permanent Bournemouth managerial position has come down to former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa and the club’s current caretaker Gary O’Neil, with Bielsa looking to be the favourite in the eyes of the Bournemouth board.
Most recently at Leeds, Bielsa’s only job in English football so far, he got the side back into the Premier League after a 16-year absence. They finished ninth the season after their promotion, and Bielsa was then sacked in the February of last season after a string of poor results.
According to reports from The Telegraph, Bielsa has been in constant contact with Bournemouth’s owners for several weeks now.
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A decision on whether the board will hire Bielsa or continue with O’Neil is expected to be made after Bournemouth’s Premier League match against Everton on Saturday at the Vitality Stadium.
O’Neil took over the club on August 31st and was able to guide the team to an undefeated run in his first six games, with two wins among them. However, four defeats since then has landed the club in 17th in the league, one point above Southampton in the relegation zone.
Bournemouth have been looking for a permanent successor to their previous manager, Scott Parker after he was dismissed in August following a 9-0 defeat at Liverpool at Anfield. His comments did not bode well after the heavy defeat, saying: “It goes without saying it is a really humbling experience. I am pretty shell-shocked.
“I am not that surprised, given the level here is far greater than we have. I am not making an excuse. Some of the goals were our own doing. I feel sorry for the fans. I feel sorry for the players because we are ill-equipped at this level.
“This does not shine a light for me. There are players who are experiencing the Premier League for the first time. I never thought we could get beat 9-0, but I expected a real challenge at certain moments in certain games.
“This is the toughest day, as a player and certainly as a coach. The touchline today was pretty painful, and I could sense it was painful for the players as well. They need some help.
“Liverpool were ruthless, and my boys were flat to the floor, searching for oxygen at times and trying to breathe.”
There is no other external candidate on the shortlist, according to reports.
Bournemouth had considered Kjetil Knutsen, the current coach of Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt, but reportedly decided not to proceed with him.
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