Coach sackings have come thick and fast in the early stages of the 2019/20 Serie A campaign, which should not surprise followers of Italian football due to the notorious reputation that club owners in Italy have for firing tacticians.
So far AC Milan, Sampdoria, Genoa, and Brescia have changed their coaches while Udinese are looking for a permanent replacement for Igor Tudor because caretaker coach Luca Gotti does not want the role on a full-time basis.
Five tacticians have already lost their jobs in the opening 11 rounds and it is probable that the trend will continue as the season progresses.
Here are Forza Italian Football’s five potential candidates to face the sack next in Serie A.
Walter Mazzarri – Torino
After being eliminated by English club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final round of Europa League qualifiers, Torino’s tumultuous start to the season has continued in Serie A and the Granata are sitting 14th in the Italian league table.
Coach Walter Mazzarri sets his team up to defend deep and rely on counter-attacks to score but his methods are not working at the moment. Star striker Andrea Belotti is often isolated in attack and the defence is missing the experience of the recently retired Emiliano Moretti.
Torino have failed to win in their last six Serie A matches and it would not be surprising if Toro president Urbano Cairo shows Mazzarri the door.
Carlo Ancelotti – Napoli
With the reports that Ancelotti and the Napoli players refused to go on in ritiro as ordered by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis and the club’s subsequent reaction, there are suggestions in the press that there may be tension between the Partenopei tactician and the chairman.
The Neapolitans are seventh in Serie A and have only won one of their last five league matches. They also drew 1-1 at home against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League, squandering a chance to seal their progression to the Round of 16.
Napoli have released a statement on their official website, saying that the coach is responsible for the organisation of training camps, but perhaps it is to divert attention away if relations between De Laurentiis and Ancelotti are worse than what’s reported.
Leonardo Semplici – SPAL
It would be disappointing if the sacking occurred because Semplici has been a fundamental part to SPAL’s return to Serie A after 49 years in the wilderness.
They rose from Serie C to Serie A in the space of four seasons under the Tuscan tactician but key components from their last two Serie A campaigns are no longer there; wing-back Manuel Lazzarri was sold to Lazio and defender Kevin Bonifazi has turned to Torino.
SPAL have been in similar circumstances before and survived relegation twice but the Biancazzurri are on the bottom of the table and striker Andrea Petagna has not been provided with the adequate service.
President Walter Mattioli has been patient with Semplici but after five years, maybe a change could occur to freshen things up in Ferrara.
Roberto De Zerbi – Sassuolo
De Zerbi’s possession-based philosophy makes Sassuolo a fun team to watch but they are the type of team that can score a lot and concede many more.
The Neroverdi have scored 18 goals and conceded 20 in 10 Serie A matches and they are two points above the relegation zone.
Club patron Giorgio Squinzi passed away in October so that might have an effect on how the club is run but Sassuolo arguably have a team capable of finishing mid-table. If they get dragged into the relegation battle soon, Neroverdi president Carlo Rossi might be prompted into a switch.
Stefano Pioli – AC Milan
As farcical as it seems, do not rule out Stefano Pioli being sacked during this season.
Since Massimiliano Allegri was sacked in January 2014, AC Milan have hired eight different coaches and Pioli was hired in October to replace Marco Giampaolo. Giampaolo had won three Serie A matches with the Rossoneri and lost the other four but his replacement has not done any better.
The appointment of the former Lazio and Fiorentina tactician was met with disapproval from Milan supporters, and he has won one match, drawn another, and lost two in the league so far.
If he can’t obtain positive results immediately, don’t be shocked if Milan fire him as they try in vain to bring back the glory days.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) September 13, 2019