Henry stands with embattled Backe despite another flameout
HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe will not be fired, but that does not mean he will be manning the sidelines for the club in 2013.
Backe’s current three-year contract with the Red Bulls is set to expire at the end of the year and he has not had any indication from the club as to whether or not they want to re-sign him. Backe was asked repeatedly about what the future holds for him following New York’s season-ending playoff loss to D.C. United on Thursday, but the Swedish head coach refused to comment on that and whether or not he deemed this campaign a failed one for the club.
“I think you need to sit down a little bit longer and analyze the whole season,” Backe told reporters during his postgame press conference. “I can’t do it 10 minutes after the game. It will be a little bit later.”
Some Red Bulls players said after the 1-0 loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals that they thought Backe was a good coach who had done well during his three years with the club. Backe is the only coach in franchise history to guide the team to three straight playoff appearances, though some may deem that accomplishment as underachieving since they all ended with early exits and no CONCACAF Champions League berths.
“I think he has done brilliantly,” captain Thierry Henry said. “In the first year, we finished champions of the Eastern Conference in the regular season. … I thought he did well. We went to the playoffs every time and obviously we didn’t go all the way. After that, it’s out of my hand what’s going to happen. I don’t know, but I’d like to think that he did well.”
One player who did not necessarily give Backe a vote of confidence when asked about supporting the coach going forward was DP midfielder Tim Cahill.
“I support this football club,” Cahill said. “That’s why I signed here. I’ve only been here four months and I’ve tried everything. The last few weeks I’ve played with a tear in my calf and there’s not much more I can do.”
Red Bulls general manager Jerome de Bontin said previously that the club would appoint a new sporting director in the near future, and that it would be that person who would evaluate Backe and decide his future.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.