Romania manager Cosmin Contra has pinpointed Dan Petrescu as a possible successor to him, just a day before he gets set to face Celtic.
Petrescu has been with 12 different clubs in a total of 15 different managerial spells. Despite that, however, he’s yet to manage at international level. Petrescu is also Romanian himself, so the job would likely appeal to him one day.
His Cluj side is getting set to take on Celtic for the third time this season. Impressively, Petrescu has managed to go unbeaten against the Hoops on both occasions. He also became the first opposition manager to ever lead a team to four goals at Parkhead in a Champions League qualifier.
And he comes into tonight’s match having been tipped as one of three main candidates for the Romania job. Speaking to MonitorulCJ, Contra said the following:
“I don’t want to upset anyone, but I will give three names. Immediately after me Dan Petrescu, Gică Hagi or Cosmin Olăroiu can come.
“If we do not qualify for the EURO, my contract ends in December. We will see what will happen next and what the people of the Federation decide.”
Proves just how big a job Petrescu has done with Cluj
Petrescu’s work in Cluj is certainly highly valued in Romania. He won the club their first league title since 2012 just two years ago. After leaving the club, he returned to help seal the 2018-19 Liga I title too. The two championship wins are only Cluj’s fourth and fifth in their history respectively.
Added to that, his results in Europe have also impressed in recent seasons. This season alone, Petrescu’s side has managed to KO Astana, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, and Celtic. In the end, he only failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages due to a small 2-0 deficit to Slavia Prague.
But he’s continuing to pull up trees with a squad made up largely of Romanian nationals. Their success in Europe generally goes against their relatively small scope when it comes to the transfer market.
It’s no surprise he’s valued so highly in Romanian football. His success has helped bring some respect to their country on a European stage.
As well as that, Petrescu has proved to be an expert when it comes to mind-games too. He has all of the tools to be a successful international manager. Considering how much he’s worked with so many of Romania’s top players, it’s probably a job that would suit him in the future.
However, hopefully we can put a dent in that reputation tonight. But his support from Contra is a sign of just how tricky a foe Petrescu and his Cluj side are.