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JEF United fires Miller; assistant Ejiri steps up

Kyodo

JEF United Chiba announced Monday that it has sacked manager Alex Miller after he was unable to reverse the team’s fortunes following a string of disastrous results.

Miller, 60, has been replaced by 42-year-old assistant coach Atsuhiko Ejiri.

Chiba has been having a nightmare run and sits in 16th place in the 18-team J. League top flight with four wins, seven draws and eight defeats after 19 games, and faces its second changing of the guard in as many seasons.

“This was a decision made after taking into account the results of all 19 games this season,” said Chiba team president Hirokazu Miki. Ejiri, the new manager, is familiar with team affairs and we can entrust the team’s future to him looking at the long term.”

Miller joined Chiba after nearly 10 years at Liverpool, where he had been working as a first-team coach since Rafael Benitez’s appointment as manager before the start of the 2004 campaign.

JEF United barely avoided relegation last season but currently has just 19 points after the midway point of the campaign. Ejiri took the helm starting with Monday’s team practice.

“Honestly, I feel I have no choice but to do the job,” said Ejiri. “Since I am taking over as manager, I want to create a winning team. In order to make that a reality I have to bring the players and staff together in a team effort.”