Juventus are a nemesis for Sinisa Mihajlovic

by Chloe Beresford / 04 January 2018, 16:59

Sinisa Mihajlovic must dread playing Juventus. Sacked from Milan after defeat to the Bianconeri in April 2016, he was once again removed from his post on Thursday after defeat to the same adversary in the Coppa Italia quarter-final. On this occasion, he had been in charge of Torino for the past 18 months but – even with a whole host of injuries to deal with – the Derby della Mole defeat was seen as the last straw.

Despite this, star striker Andrea Belotti had been out of action for large parts of the campaign, and with this in mind, 10th position in the league and a quarter final exit from the cup didn’t seem too bad. Furthermore Granata president Urbano Cairo isn’t renowned for having a habit of hiring and firing managers, the last time he did so during the season since March 2011.

A deeper look reveals an explanation in the temperament of the fiery Serbian, the Coach notorious for his outbursts in the press. This, along with too many draws in the league alongside a lack of ideas without Belotti, explains why the relationship between himself and the owner had become untenable, with Cairo taking decisive action to give a new man in charge a chance to get the side in order during the forthcoming Winter Break.

“I have the same hunger for Torino as I did my first day. Every morning I wake up happy to be here and eager to do my job,” said the boss in a press conference back in February 2017 when under pressure. “I accept criticism, but not insults. Nobody can say I don’t have balls or that I lied to them. Anyone who claims that should say it to my face, but I’m sure they never will.”

This fiery approach was consistent throughout his tenure towards the press, referees, his players and the club, and Granata fans saw his volatility once again in the derby encounter last night. Torino felt like they should have been awarded a free-kick in the build up to Juve's second goal. Initially not given by the referee, the decision was referred to VAR, but was upheld in the end.

This decision clearly infuriated Mihajlovic, who was promptly sent to the stands, leaving assistant boss Attilio Lombardo to face the media for the post-match interviews. It was seemingly this behaviour – along with a less-than impressive record of three wins, eight draws and five losses in their last 17 competitive matches – that ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So what next for a club that have such a proud history? Their youth team boss Federico Coppitelli has no UEFA pro licence and therefore would have required special dispensation from the league in order to act as a stand-in boss for this Saturday’s match with Bologna. Taking this into consideration, Toro have appointed a new man right away, president Cairo having selected Walter Mazzarri.

The 56-year-old ise taking on his first role since being fired from Watford at the end of last season, returning to Italy to attempt to turn things around at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Mihajlovic meanwhile, may well find another job with a struggling Italian team, his abrasive personality enough to shock sides without much fight, leading to an improvement in results in the short term at least.

However, he remains without a single honour to his name and his reputation for causing problems outweighs any progress made as a Coach. Mazzarri has at least won the Coppa Italia with Napoli and worked under pressure both at home with the likes of Inter and abroad with Watford. His main task now is to get Torino firing both with and without Andrea Belotti.

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