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February 8, 2023

Football: Boloni appointed new coach of Lens

Romanian manager Laszlo Boloni has been appointed the new coach of Lens following the departure of former boss Jean-Guy Wallemme. According to Sky Sports the French outfit are currently languishing at the wrong end of Ligue 1 and Wallemme was sacked along with assistant Jacques Santini following the 2-2 draw with Bordeaux in December.

Former Romanian international Boloni, 57, has previously coached Nancy, Rennes and Monaco in France, as well as the Romanian national team, Portu­guese giants Sporting Lisbon and Belgian side Standard Liege.

Boloni won the European Cup as a player with Steaua Bucharest in 1986 and led Sporting to the Portuguese title in 2002. He also won the Belgian title with Standard Liege in 2009.

He was most recently em­ployed by United Arab Emirates outfit Al-Wahda, with whom he parted company last September and now has the task of dragging Les Sang et Or away from the relegation zone.

He told L’Equipe: “When I look around me at Lens, the facilities, the famous fans, I see a big waste. Maybe some players have been weakened mentally. We have to put them on the right path again. We have to trust young players. I first said to the players they all have individual responsibility in the current club’s situation. In second place, they have to take care to respect, and put egos away.” Lens chairman Gervais Martel has revealed that ex-boss Wallemme was keen to step down from the post: “We concluded the situation was worrying, there was a danger of relegation, but salvation remains possible,” he remarked. “He asked me to release him from his commitment to the team. The balance sheet is unacceptable with just three wins and 32 goals conceded in half a season. Laszlo had the advantage of being a free agent, and has already coached in several clubs, having an impressive career as a player. He has already shown the ability to adapt quickly everywhere he has worked before.”

Lens will be looking to turnaround their fortunes in their next game against St Etienne on Saturday 15th January.

Lens were second-bottom in Ligue 1 at the start of the winter break on December 22, three points from safety but with a game in hand on most of the teams around them.

The 1997-98 French champions finished the 2009-10 season in 11th place in the division, having been promoted from Ligue 2 as champions under Wallemme in May 2009.

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