Serie A clubs have something of a reputation for chopping and changing managers. Indeed, in this season alone, ten clubs have opted to make a change in the dugout, with two of those clubs (Brescia and Genoa) having three separate managers.
So the argument might be that these clubs aren’t giving their managers enough time to impose their philosophy on their new squads, and those arguments are probably justifiable. However, we’re not here to discuss whether these managers should’ve been given more of chance, we’re here to discuss how badly these managers performed, regardless of whether one thinks they should’ve been given more time.
In truth, Eusebio Di Francesco could’ve landed himself a better job than Sampdoria.
Coming off the back of a unfair sacking at Roma (less than a year after leading them to the Champions League semi-finals), Di Francesco was appointed as manager of Sampdoria. A solid top-half side, but one that was never realistically going to challenge for a European place. On the surface, it was a coup, a shrewd appointment, but it would turn to be anything but.
Di Francesco lost six of the seven league games he had in charge of I Blucerchiati and were rock bottom of Serie A when he was finally sacked. Ironically, it was Claudio Ranieri, the man who replaced him at Roma, who replaced him at Sampdoria too.
A former youth coach at Inter, Andrea Stramaccioni was initially appointed as caretaker manager at San Siro towards the end of 2011/12. He led them from eighth place to sixth place, and he was confirmed as I Nerazzurri’s permanent manager for the following season.
What followed was nothing short of a disaster. A solid start to the season left them in third at Christmas, but a poor second half of the season (they lost ten out of a possible 19 games) meant they finished in ninth place. The result of this was that Inter had failed to qualify for a European competition for the first time in 15 seasons.
Safe to say, Stramaccioni was sacked, and he’s become something a journeyman since, managing clubs in Greece, the Czech Republic and Iran.
Reflecting back on this appointment, it was pretty strange one. Marco Giampaolo had been manager of Sampdoria, leading them to top-half finishes for three consecutive seasons before Milan came calling. A talented manager, sure, but one who could arrest I Rossoneri’s decline?
It didn’t seem like the two really fit – Giampaolo was a journeyman manager, who, just four years earlier, had been managing Serie C side Cremonese and Milan were a club hoping to break back into the top four.
This odd pairing became quite evident as Milan started playing matches. I Rossoneri seemed bereft of creativity and energy, struggling to score goals. By the time Giampaolo was sacked, Milan had lost four of their seven opening games, and sat in 13th place.
Following a disastrous year in charge of the Italian national team, in which he failed to ensure their qualification to the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, Gian Piero Ventura was public enemy number one in Italy.
Chievo were able to look past that when they appointed him as their new coach in October 2018. I Gialloblu were in last place at the time, and they would’ve been hoping that Ventura – who had a decent record in the Italian top flight – could rescue their season.
Instead, he plunged them into more chaos. He was in charge for just four matches, of which he lost three and drew one, before resigning. Chievo were relegated at the end of the season and Ventura is now in charge of Serie B outfit Salernitana.
An experienced coach, Luigi Delneri was selected to manage Juventus in May 2010, following a successful campaign at Sampdoria in which he led to them into the Champions League places.
It would turn out to be misguided appointment. They would draw every game in their Europa League group, failing to qualify to for the next round, and finished seventh in Serie A, meaning they didn’t qualify for Europe for the following season.
Delneri was sacked after just one season, and the Juventus board gambled on Antonio Conte, who would subsequently lead them to three consecutive Scudetti.
At the time of Filippo Inzaghi’s appointment in 2014, Milan were already in decline. They had finished eighth the previous season, and their choice to appoint Inzaghi, who had only had spells in charge of Milan’s youth teams, seemed a big risk.
It was a risk that didn’t pay off. I Rossoneri finished the season in tenth place, their lowest position since 1998. Inzaghi was not retained for the following season, being replaced by Sinisa Mihajlovic, who didn’t fare much better.
Inzaghi seems to have resurrected his managerial career, however. His current team, Benevento, are top of the Serie B table by a margin of 20 points.
Something of a cult figure due to his successful time at Parma and a notorious press conference he gave while in charge of Panathinaikos, Alberto Malesani was an experienced Serie A coach who was brought in rescue the relegation threatened Sassuolo in January 2014.
I Neroverdi were 18th when Malesani took charge. Five matches and five defeats later, Sassuolo were bottom of the table, four points away from safety, and Malesani was dismissed.
Eusebio Di Francesco would be re-appointed as Sassuolo coach, saving them from relegation and leading them to Europa League qualification two years later. Malesani, meanwhile, hasn’t managed another club since.
It’s easy to say in retrospect, but Frank de Boer was always an odd choice for Inter.
He had spent six years in charge of Ajax, leading them to four Eredivisie titles. Prior to his appointment at Inter in August 2016, however, he hadn’t won a trophy for two years. De Boer managed just 11 league matches at I Nerazzurri, and were 12th in the league at the time of his dismissal in November.
De Boer would go on to have a forgettable five-match spell with Crystal Palace and now finds himself in charge of MLS side Atlanta United.
It seemed like the perfect appointment at the time. Vincenzo Montella previously had a successful three-year spell at Fiorentina between 2012 and 2015, finishing fourth in each of the seasons he had in charge, and would subsequently turn out to be one of the best managers Milan have had in recent years.
He returned to Fiorentina in April 2019 with a reputation and destroyed it in less than a year. Brought in with seven games to go in 2018/19, Montella failed to win a single game and Fiorentina, who were tenth in April, ended up finishing in 16th place, only surviving relegation on the final day of the season.
A new owner came before the start of 2019/20 and decided to keep the faith in Montella. He performed slightly better, but was sacked just before Christmas with Fiorentina in 15th place.
For context, Inter had won the Champions League a little over a year before Gian Piero Gasperini’s appointment in June 2011.
It was an odd choice from Inter owner Massimo Moratti. He had a successful spell in charge of Genoa, but didn’t quite have the calibre to manage one of the biggest teams in the world. Gasperini lasted just five games, losing four and drawing one, before his sacking in September, with I Nerazzurri in the relegation zone.
Gasperini is now in charge of Atalanta, where he has become, arguably, the greatest manager in Serie A. In his time in Bergamo, he has taken his side from mid-table nobodies to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.