Charlotte FC captain Christian Fox did not fall short of words on Tuesday when discussing the club’s decision to sack coach Miguel Angel Ramirez midway through the inaugural season.
Speaking to the media for the first time since the change of coaching, Fox said there were “divides” between the players and the coaching staff.
“I think there were a few players who weren’t really convinced of what he (Ramirez) was trying to achieve,” Fox said.
Fox’s comments came shortly after the team’s first training under interim coach Cristian Lattanzio and the first since the international break. He did not participate in training due to an ankle problem, but he watched.
“I had time to look at faces, I had time to look at players, nonverbal communication,” Fox said. “And it was interesting to see how comfortable I was for the players who were approaching training. With a lot of smiles.”
Team leadership, owner David Tepper, athletic director Zoran Krnita, and personnel director Bobby Belair attended Latanzio’s first practice.
Charlotte (5-8-1) sacked Ramirez, assistant coach Mikel Antea, fitness coach Cristobal Fuentes Nieto and video analyst Luis Pedrahita on May 31 after the first 14 games of the expansion team’s inaugural season. Fox said the team’s performance was below talent.
Fox said the most significant change in practices after the training change came in the physical requirements. Under Ramirez, he said, the pre-match training schedule lacked the necessary intensity and could have slowed some of the team’s starts.
Fox said the team would focus heavily on tactical work to adjust strategy for the incoming opponent and said changing game plans was “confusing”.
Early in the season, Fuchs felt that Ramirez’s philosophy could work if combined with a player’s subscription. However, he noted that there are a lot of changes in that philosophy from game to game and it doesn’t reflect what he and the team were told initially.
He added that tactical work had always been in proportion to the next match and that the team did not take time to re-evaluate its previous performance.
“To have the post-match analysis to look at, what we did well, what we didn’t do well. This is how your team has improved…that is just the process.” “That was, well it wasn’t there.”
When issues were brought up to Ramirez, the former coach was unresponsive and “most of the time, unfortunately, the door is closed,” Fox said. “That wasn’t good.”
He felt that Ramirez was not willing to address the players’ concerns. Ultimately, the 36-year-old said it led him to keep the conversations to himself and use his own experiences to help the players move forward with their issues. He described his relationship with the coach as “interesting…it wasn’t easy.”
While he declined to say whether Lattanzio should be a coach beyond 2022, Fox gave him a vote of confidence, saying the two made a call a few weeks ago and that he likes how Lattanzio sees the players’ development.
“The player for him is the center of everything … which creates a great atmosphere and helps the team progress as well,” Fox said. “So if the player feels appreciated, the player feels like someone they want to improve, and they are willing to give more.”
FC hosts the New York Red Bulls at 3pm on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium.
This story was originally published June 7, 2022 1:51 pm.