The "Real Era" has ended in Guadalajara.
At a press conference Monday evening, Chivas officials confirmed the dismissal of Jose Luis Real, while introducing Fernando Quirarte as new manager of the team.
Real led Chivas to the Liguilla semifinals last season, but after a strong start to the Apertura, his team began to fall apart over the past month. After four wins in their first five matches, things quickly took a turn for the worse this season as Chivas struggled to just one win in the six games since. To add insult to injury, the last three weeks have featured embarrassing home losses to Puebla and Queretaro. The team's problems have been compounded during the recent slide by a lack of scoring, with Chivas currently tied as the lowest-scoring team in the league.
"Guero" Real originally took over as Chivas manager during the Apertura 2009 season, coaching the team for the last three games of that year. In his best stretch as manager, Real began the next season (Bicentenario 2010) with eight straight wins -- a streak made a little easier courtesy of an incredible goal scoring outburst from Chicharito. The seasons since the Bicentenario have been highly inconsistent, though. Chivas won just four games during the Apertura 2010 and missed the playoffs, but regrouped to make a run to the Liguilla semifinals in the Clausura 2011 season. After this season's struggles, owner Jorge Vergara finally decided he'd had enough.
With Real's departure, attention now turns to incoming manager Fernando Quirarte. Quirarte has previously coached three teams in the Mexican Primera -- Santos Laguna, Atlas, and Jaguares. His last head coaching experience came on the sidelines in Chiapas during the Apertura 2005 season. Things didn't end so well that year, as Jaguares began the season with a seven match winless streak, leading to Quirarte's premature dismissal in September 2005. Quirarte did win a championship as manager of Santos Laguna in 2001, and also as a player at Chivas back in 1987. Quirarte's task now becomes returning Chivas to their former glory, and doing so quickly while facing increasing hostility from a restless fanbase. We'll get our first glimpse of Quirarte on the Chivas sideline this weekend, as Guadalajara travels to Toluca for a road match against the Red Devils.
Chivas fans, how do you view this coaching change? Was the time right for Real's departure? And does Quirarte have what it takes to turn things around in Guadalajara?