New coaches of Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray set for first tests
Two major Istanbul clubs, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, hope to put their Turkish Super Lig campaign back on track under new coaches.
Fenerbahçe, which had been without a coach since Vitor Pereira was sacked a month ago, signed İsmail Kartal earlier this week, while Galatasaray replaced club legend Fatih Terim with Domenec Torrent.
It will be former club player Kartal’s second spell at Fenerbahçe, having coached the team for one season before resigning on May 30, 2015.
His first test comes against Antalyaspor in an away game on Jan. 15, with the coach determined to make an immediate impact.
“No Fenerbahçe fan accepts the current situation,” he said before his first training session with the team on Jan. 12.
“But here we have a group of players who can turn everything upside down. I know it and I can see it.”
Fenerbahçe has won nine of its 20 league games so far, losing six. It currently sits in the fifth spot with 32 points, 17 points behind league leader Trabzonspor.
“To get things right, to achieve success, you will first respect each other, and then we will respect each other,” Kartal told his players.
“And afterwards, we must work hard by believing in each other, trusting and loving each other. We must make the opponent feel the spirit of Fenerbahçe, our unity and strength, and our high self-confidence in every match. We must make the opponent feel this enthusiasm, this energy, our unity, our hunger to win a match. When we provide this, the results we want will come automatically.”
Galatasaray, on the other hand, is going through a major transformation after the departure of experienced coach Terim.
Terim’s fourth spell at the club, which he won eight Turkish league titles with since he first took the helm in 1996 and he led to the UEFA Cup in 2000, was replaced with Domenec Torrent of Spain.
Torrent worked as an assistant to Pep Guardiola for 11 years between 2007 and 2018, winning 24 trophies with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City during that time.
He was signed as the head coach at Major League Soccer side New York City FC in June 2018 and stayed at the team until November 2019.
He also had a three-month spell with Brazilian club Flamengo before being sacked in November 2020.
Galatasaray chairman Burak Elmas said his administration had planned to bring in Torrent as an assistant to Terim before things went south.
“We had talked with Terim about the names that could replace him if he was appointed to a higher level,” Elmas told reporters at a press conference.
“And we had talked to Torrent about an assistant’s post. We interviewed a few names that could be beneficial to Galatasaray in the long term. We think that the most appropriate name is Torrent. I think he will bring huge advantages to Galatasaray.”
Galatasaray has been performing poorly in the Süper Lig so far, sitting in the 12th spot in the standings with 27 points in 20 games, having won just seven.
Domenec’s first test with his new club comes against Hatayspor in an away game on Jan. 16.
League leader Trabzonspor will be looking to extend its glorious run when it visits Sivasspor on Jan. 15, while second-placed Konyaspor’s game at Başakşehir was postponed following the death of Konyaspor player Ahmet Çalık in a traffic accident on Jan. 12.