Soccer / J. League

Tosu manager Lluis Carreras leaves club after dire start to season

Kyodo, Staff Report

Struggling J. League first division club Sagan Tosu on Sunday announced the resignation of manager Lluis Carreras less than three months into the season.

The 46-year-old Spaniard departs with Sagan having scored only one goal after 10 rounds of the J. League season. The team has one win and sits last on the table.

Former Real Zaragoza manager Carreras had been unable to find a consistent starting lineup for Sagan, which made international headlines by signing Spanish striker Fernando Torres last year.

Assistant manager and former Tosu center-back Kim Myung-hwi has taken the reins as head coach.

The 37-year-old, a South Korean born in Japan, helped the club stave off relegation as caretaker last season after the sacking of their previous manager, Italian Massimo Ficcadenti, with five games remaining.

Kim was on the bench on Saturday for Tosu’s 2-0 loss at Oita Trinita, while neither Carreras nor his coaching staff were present.

While Sagan announced Carreras had resigned, comments on Sunday from chairman Minoru Takehara suggested the Spaniard had been pushed out.

“The decision was made based on the number of wins and losses, as well as how the games were played,” Takehara said.

Former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool star Torres defended the outgoing manager, saying the players and club ownership shared responsibility for Sagan’s lack of success.

Torres said Carreras, a former teammate at Atletico, had not been given enough time to implement his plans at the club.

“He had great ideas. The responsibility lies with all of us players for not carrying them out,” said Torres, who has yet to score or assist in an injury-hampered campaign.

“It takes time to do new things. The club was not patient enough.”

One of the first in a wave of big-name Spanish players to join the J. League, the 34-year-old Torres has recently been linked with a move to second-tier Mexican side Atletico de San Luis, which is partly owned by Atletico Madrid.