The club's former manager has returned to the team after an unremarkable run with Chivas USA this season.Jose Luis Real was announced as Chivas de Guadalajara manager Monday, six months after he became the head coach at Chivas USA.
It will mark the second stint at the helm of the Mexican club for “El Guero” Real who, led the team from 2009 to 2011. Juan Carlos Ortega, the previous manager, has been named director of sporting development, a role from which he will oversee scouting and the youth system at Chivas and Chivas USA under the supervision of sporting director Paco Palencia.
Chivas is historically one of the best teams in Mexico but has fallen onto rough times in recent years with the 2006 Apertura the only title won by the club since Jorge Vergara took ownership of the team in 2002. Ortega managed only two victories during the recently concluded Apertura and the 12 points amassed during that tournament tied the Goats for the second-lowest total.
Though the Liga MX relegation system is designed to protect bigger clubs, relegating just one club every calendar year and taking results from the previous six tournaments into account, the drop could be a worry in 2015 if the club can’t improve its form next year.
“The situation at Chivas is different than four years ago. Relegation is now a problem,” Real told reporters at a news conference.
Additionally, Club America has tied Chivas’ mark of 11 league titles and is challenging for this year’s Apertura crown. Losing the title of the country’s most successful club to one of Mexico’s other giants would be a bitter pill for Chivas fans to swallow.
The job of keeping Chivas up and making it relevant again now falls to Real, who didn’t find success with Chivas USA after taking over Vergara’s MLS club midway through 2013. The team continued its poor run of form en route to the penultimate position but did see breakout performances from young players such as Erick Torres, who could return to the Mexican club as well.
However, Real had a more successful time when he coached the Guadalajara outfit, taking the team to the 2010 Copa Libertadores final, losing to Brazilian club Internacional.
"Jose Luis Real returns home," Palencia said. "He's a person who knows the club and we welcome him."
The new manager’s first signing, also announced Monday, won’t fit the bill as an unknown youngster but instead is making a Chivas return. Forward Omar Bravo, the club’s second-highest all-time scorer, will be doing his third stint with the team.
Real’s replacement at Chivas USA will be announced at a later date, according to a news release.