FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Oleh Protasov became the first coach in Ukraine to lose his job this season, but with a number of other ambitious sides underperforming, plenty of local bosses have job concerns.
With Dnipro seventh in the table after six games, the 44-year-old Protasov carried the can both for their lacklustre Premier League showing and for their shock UEFA Cup qualifying exit at the hands of Swiss novices AC Bellinzona. Having lost to Scotland's Aberdeen FC in the first round last season, the club had seen enough – their long-term ambition to challenge FC Dynamo Kyiv and FC Shakhtar Donetsk's domestic dominance will continue under another coach.
For the moment, Protasov's former Dynamo and USSR team-mate Volodymyr Bessonov is in charge, having previously been sporting director since July. He earned a 2-0 home win against FC Metalist Kharkhiv on Monday to move Dnipro up to fifth, but with PFC CSKA Moskva trainer Valeri Gazzaev and Anatoliy Demyanenko both being linked to the job, someone else may oversee the grand opening of the club's new Dnipro Stadium on 14 September. The 35,000-seater stadium will host games at UEFA EURO 2012™.
Protasov did not anticipate being out of work for long. When Ioan Andone was released by Romanian champions CFR 1907 Cluj, the former FC Steaua Bucureşti boss told uefa.com: "I will hold talks with CFR on Monday." However, he was left somewhat surprised when Cluj instead decided to hire Andone's Italian assistant Maurizio Trombetta. Given the uncertainty elsewhere, he may find other sides calling soon, though perhaps not Shakhtar just yet.
The champions have been going through a turbulent period, and while they have reached the UEFA Champions League group stage, they lie eleventh in the 16-team Premier League. Coach Mircea Lucescu is having an uncomfortable time, but his position looks safe for now. "Shakhtar will get through this in the Champions League where the lads will have another approach and another level of responsibility," said the 63-year-old. "Either that or through another coach."
'Easy way out'
SC Tavriya Simferopol coach Mykhailo Fomenko has tendered his resignation, but the board refused it even though the club are 15th in the standings. Meanwhile Olexandr Ischenko, coach of bottom side FC Illychivets Mariupil, is preparing for the worst. After his team's 3-1 loss to FC Vorskla Poltava on Saturday, he said: "The board can make any decision about my future at the club and I will accept it. But resigning is the easy answer. Finding a way out of this crisis is much more difficult."
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