Just over six months after taking charge of Danish Superligaen side Brøndby IF, René Meulensteen has stepped down as head coach with immediate effect for personal reasons.
The Dutchman took over in June, leaving his previous job as Manchester United FC's reserve-team manager to succeed Michael Laudrup, but he was unable to inspire his charges to any great success last autumn. Brøndby were eliminated from the UEFA Cup by first-round opponents Eintracht Frankfurt, have already been knocked out of the Danish Cup and went into the winter break 19 points behind Superligaen leaders FC København. "If you are going to function at your best as a coach - and thereby as a role model to other people - your own life also has to be totally settled and for us, life in Denmark never was," said Meulensteen, whose family will now return to Manchester.
"We're sorry René is leaving us, but we understand and respect his decision," said Brøndby director Per Bjerregaard. "The fact that the team did not perform as it should in René's time as coach is definitely not his fault. He's an extremely competent and focused coach." Brøndby have moved swiftly to replace Meulensteen, with youth-team coach Tom Køhlert – who guided the senior side to a first ever Danish league title in 1985 and won the championship again in 2000 in his second spell in charge – taking over as head coach for the third time with Peter Siggaard remaining as his assistant.
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