Massimo Rastelli wins the Serie A Sack Raceby Chloe Beresford / 17 October 2017, 20:43Tweet
Despite a 3-0 defeat to Napoli on October 1st, Cagliari boss Massimo Rastelli was not worried about the status of his job. “A Coach lives and dies by his results,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But the club and the lads are with me.” That result however, meant that the Sardinian outfit had lost five out of the opening seven matches and sat just three points outside the relegation zone in Serie A.
He may have been in confident mood just two weeks ago - after all, losing to rampant Napoli was no disgrace - but just one more defeat tipped the scales. Rastelli had been mistaken, and the club announced his sacking after a 3-2 home defeat to fellow strugglers Genoa.
“Cagliari Calcio announces that Massimo Rastelli has been removed from the technical guidance of the first team,” the Isolani announced on their official website. “We thank Rastelli for his two years of work, carried out with professionalism and passion.”
That professionalism saw the 48-year-old take Cagliari to the Serie B title in 2015/16, his first season in charge after joining from Avellino. Whilst most newly-promoted sides face a serious struggle in the top-flight, Rastelli spearheaded his team to an excellent eleventh-placed finish.
They finished the season with 47 points and 14 wins while Pescara - a side that had joined them in promotion the year before - were relegated as the bottom club with just fifteen points, three of which were handed to them on a technicality. Many bosses would have been afforded a little more time after such outstanding achievements, but six points from eight matches was clearly not good enough.
In all fairness to the boss, there were some mitigating factors surrounding the poor start to the campaign. The summer transfer window had seen 35-year-old striker Marco Borriello announce his decision to leave the club after scoring 16 goals in 2016/17. Such was the shock surrounding his exit many reports suggested that he had fallen out with the Coach.
“First of all, I want to make it clear that I did not argue with Massimo Rastelli, the club or my teammates!!!,” the former Milan striker wrote on his Instagram page. “So everything you read and heard about that is FALSE!!! The veteran went on to explain the reason he left was that he no longer felt the “fire in his belly,” but whatever the reason, his presence has been sorely missed in the new season.
The fixture list was also unkind to the boss, his side getting off to an immediate bad start with defeats to reigning champions Juventus and big-spending Milan in the opening two rounds. Coupled with a match against Napoli, three out of the six aforementioned defeats had been entirely expected, but simply poorly timed.
Cagliari have axed manager Massimo Rastelli after club picked up 6 pts in 8 rounds. Iachini and Oddo favorites to take on the job— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) October 17, 2017
But this is Italy we are talking about, a place where bosses are hired and fired at the drop of a hat. Indeed, those on the peninsula are surprised that Serie A clubs have been so slow off the mark this term. Rastelli has become the first managerial casualty after round eight, the longest Serie A has gone without a sacking since 1998.
It is perhaps ironic that Massimo Oddo - along with former Palermo boss Beppe Iachini - have been touted as a potential replacement, considering that he was the man that was largely in charge during Pescara’s doomed 2016/17 campaign.
Rastelli meanwhile thrived at Cagliari, but his own words sealed his fate. “A Coach lives and dies by his results,” he said in the aforementioned interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. For the Sardinian side, those results this season were simply not good enough.