Massimo Carrera fired as Spartak Moscow coach

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 file photo, Spartak's head coach Massimo Carrera reacts during the Europa League, round of 32 first-leg soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Athletic Club Bilbao at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow, Russia. Spartak Moscow has fired coach Massimo Carrera after a disappointing start to the season. The former Juventus assistant coach took Spartak to its first Russian title in 16 years in his first season. But has he struggled to build on that achievement. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Spartak Moscow fires coach Massimo Carrera after disappointing start to season

MOSCOW — Spartak Moscow fired coach Massimo Carrera on Monday following a disappointing start to the season.

In his first season, the former Juventus assistant coach took Spartak to its first Russian title in 16 years, but he has struggled to build on that achievement. Spartak finished third last season and lost in Champions League qualifying this year.

"Last season's results were considered unsatisfactory — not a single one of the targets was achieved," the club said in a statement. "The results and play of the team this season have shown there is no tendency toward improvement."

Spartak is sixth in the Russian league, one point from second place but seven points behind leader Zenit St. Petersburg.

Carrera had a strained relationship with some players. Midfielder Denis Glushakov and fullback Andrei Yeshchenko were dropped to the reserves last month after being accused of pressing Instagram's "like" button on a video of a poem recital criticizing Carrera.

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