PODCAST | How Rangnick’s departure made life tricky for Zinnbauer, Davids at Lokomotiv

17 October 2022 - 14:08
By Sports staff
Orlando Pirates coach Fadlu Davids only had three matches  as assistant to Josef Zinnbauer at Lokomotiv Moscow before the pair were fired.
Image: Fadlu Davids/Twitter Orlando Pirates coach Fadlu Davids only had three matches as assistant to Josef Zinnbauer at Lokomotiv Moscow before the pair were fired.

Fadlu Davids says he and head coach Josef Zinnbauer were caught in a tricky situation due to the dynamics of a change in philosophy at the club in their brief stay at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Zinnbauer was appointed head coach ahead of the new season on July 1. He roped in his former Orlando Pirates assistant Davids to join him at the Russian club on September 27.

Davids signed up as Zinnbauer had endured a rough start where, after five matches without a win, Lokomotiv won twice, lost three times, then won and lost.

In Davids’ first match the club beat Khimki 5-0 in the Russian Cup, but lost twice in the league, 4-2 against Ural and 4-0 against Sochi, before the duo were fired last week.

Davids told Marawa Sports Worldwide Lokomotiv have been changing philosophy from when Ralf Rangnick, who developed the dynamic playing styles of Red Bull Leipzig and Salzburg, left Lokomotiv as sporting director after five months to become interim coach at Manchester United in November last year.

“It’s the nature of football. When I got the call from Josef Zinnbauer I knew the situation at the club fully. He explained to me what had happened since the coach with the Red Bull philosophy [Rangnick] left them,” Davids said.

“[Zinnbauer said] there was a possibility for us, if we did well, to then make our signings in January and shape the squad.

“But of course his [Zinnbauer’s] record before I came was three league losses in a row, and winning the first cup game didn’t really help with the position in the league. Then of course in the first game after the 5-0 win we got a red card [in the league defeat to Ural] after [13] minutes and lost 4-2.

“All in all we had three matches, scored seven goals and conceded eight, and the club then decided immediately after our match on Saturday evening that Zinnbauer and the sporting director Thomas Zorn be relieved.

“I had a meeting with Zinnbauer and said even if they asked me to stay I wouldn’t because he was the one who took me there.

“The next day I had a meeting with the general manager [general director Vladimir Leonchenko] who is in charge of the whole process. His predecessor [Markus Gisdol] was the one who brought Rangnick and the German and Austrian staff at the club to implement the Red Bull philosophy.

“Of course when Marvon Compper left Zinnbauer was brought and told to bring his people and cancel the Red Bull philosophy. But the pressure was not only on Zinnbauer but also the general manager who implemented the Red Bull philosophy.

“After our meeting it was clear that even though the budget was to be brought down by €20m from the previous season, we had a young squad, the [previous] general manager [Gisdol] out [in March] and all the staff he brought out, the club will take a new direction in January with more experienced players.

“Already there’s a Russian interim coach [Andrey Fedorov] in and I’m sure he will take the club in a new direction.”

Davids said if he had the opportunity again “I would still go”.

For more episodes, click here.

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.