Udinese sack boss Luigi Delneri

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 21 November 2017, 13:09

After just four wins in the opening 12 matches for Udinese boss Luigi Delneri, owner Giampaolo Pozzo - father of Watford president Gino Pozzo - decided that enough was enough.

“Udinese Calcio can confirm that first-team head coach Luigi Delneri and assistant Giuseppe Ferazzoli have been relieved of their duties,” an official statement read on Tuesday morning.

A 1-0 defeat to Cagliari last weekend was the final straw, with the scoreline failing to reflect what was a truly shocking defensive display from the Friuliani. “It was a performance that was below par,” the 67-year-old lamented after the match to Rai Sport. “We took a step backwards compared to previous games.”

He went on to blame the fact that the team hadn’t played for almost a month - due to the postponement of a league fixture with Lazio before the international break - but this excuse was just the latest in a long why of reasons why a string of poor performances simply weren’t his fault.

“I never felt that my job was up in the air, but the truth is this squad had trouble getting to know each other. There were so many new faces, so many different nationalities and they weren’t accustomed to Italian football,” he said after a rare win against Atalanta. He also complained about “too much pressure” and claimed that “it’s not the job of a Coach” to provide motivation.

11 months in charge of Udinese brought the end to a usual cycle for the veteran boss, who - before his current post - took charge of Sampdoria, Juventus, Genoa and Hellas Verona all for just one season.

Pozzo seems to have taken decisive action before it is too late, with the club sitting just three points ahead of the relegation zone with a tough clash against Napoli awaiting them. Massimo Oddo, a man part of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning squad looks set to replace him, but can he do any better?

The 41-year-old former Pescara boss at will at least bring some youthful enthusiasm to the side, and did manage to take the Delfini to top-flight promotion via the Serie B play-offs in 2016. From then his tenure was somewhat of a disaster and - after just one win by February - the Coach was seen in tears on the bench before finally being sacked following a 5-3 loss to Torino.

However, many of the newly-promoted sides have struggled to compete with the huge gulf in quality between the top two tiers in Italy, as seen with Benevento this term. The Campanian outfit have lost all 13 of their opening games, setting a record for the worst-ever start to a season in all of Europe’s top-five leagues.

So whilst wielding the axe is not always the answer, it seems like Udinese have done the right thing in getting rid of the excuse-merchant Delneri. Now is the time for Oddo to prove that his torrid spell in Serie A with Pescara was not entirely his fault as he works to push Udinese further up the table.

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Dean Smith
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