The official website for European football

Katanec pays the price

Published: Friday 7 February 2003, 21.41CET
Olympiakos Piraeus FC have fired Slovenian coach Srecko Katanec after just three months in charge. features

UEFA Nations League in focus - UEFA Direct 172 out now
  • UEFA Nations League in focus - UEFA Direct 172 out now
  • Coaches review Women's EURO trends
  • 'Everyone should get to play': Berlin footballer Zehra supports UEFA's #EqualGame campaign
  • UEFA ASSIST programme launched
  • Two sports - two coaching perspectives
  • Coaching Convention paying dividends
  • European football backs diversity, inclusion and accessibility
  • Club licensing and FFP keeps clubs on positive course
  • Monaco memories - UEFA Direct 171 out now
  • Luís Figo joins UEFA as Football Advisor
1 of 10
Published: Friday 7 February 2003, 21.41CET

Katanec pays the price

Olympiakos Piraeus FC have fired Slovenian coach Srecko Katanec after just three months in charge.
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus FC have fired coach Srecko Katanec just three months after appointing the Slovenian.

Replaced Lemonis
The 40-year-old had replaced the sacked Panagiotis Lemonis in November, acknowledging at the time the "very difficult task" that lay ahead of him. However, Katanec could not have envisaged that his tenure in the Alpha Ethniki would be so short, today's announcement coming after he questioned Olympiakos's ability to win the championship.

'Stop our co-operation'
"Following yesterday's claims by Mr Katanec that he does not believe a seventh consecutive title can be achieved - contrary to the feelings of millions of fans, players and the board of directors at Olympiakos - we have to end our relationship," a club statement said. "From today the team is the responsibility of Mr Oleg Protasov."

'So much pressure'
Katanec had angered the club with comments in a press conference on Thursday. "I do not know why there is so much pressure on us winning a seventh consecutive league title," Katanec said. "There is a psychosis about it and that has a negative effect on the team and on me. The team will top the standings only if they are worthy of first place. You win the league if you are better than your opponents out on the pitch."

Zahovic fall out
The acrimonious departure is Katanec's second such split in seven months. He resigned as Slovenia coach after the nation's first-round exit at the FIFA World Cup, a campaign which saw star player Zlatko Zahovic return home early after Katanec substituted him 63 minutes into the opening 3-1 defeat by Spain.

Reputation built
A former NK Dinamo Zagreb, FK Partizan and Sampdoria UC player, Katanec built his reputation as one of Europe's brightest young coaches at the helm of Slovenia, guiding the tiny country to EURO 2000™ and World Cup qualification. It was these achievements that tempted Olympiakos into appointing him, club president Socrates Kokkalis saying at Katanec's unveiling: "He is very ambitious - he wants to make a name for himself and the team."

Second position
Olympiakos lie second in the Alpha Ethniki, two points behind Panathinaikos FC. When Katanec took charge they were in an identical position, albeit with AEK Athens FC at the summit. The club have been desperate to win the title to surpass the record set in the 1950s when they were champions six years running.

Lucky seven
Under Katanec, Olympiakos won seven games, drew four and lost one - against Panathinaikos. His successor, the former USSR international Protasov, has been working behind the scenes at the club he played for in the early 1990s. He becomes Olympiakos's seventh coach in as many years.

Last updated: 09/02/11 10.54CET

Related information

Team profiles