Five stand out managers from the 2018/19 Serie A seasonby Chloe Beresford / 03 June 2019, 11:59Tweet
The 2018/19 campaign in Serie A saw many of the top sides fail to meet expectations, however this allowed for some surprise performances from some unexpected teams.
Here at the Sack Race, we have profiled the top five managers in Italy for the season.
Gian Piero Gasperini (Atalanta)
Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini is undoubtedly the hero of this year’s edition of Serie A.
Since arriving in Bergamo in 2016/17, the 61-year-old has – as discussed in this previous post – continued to push his side beyond what was previously thought possible.
Atalanta are the ultimate fairytale. Third in the standings, an incredible journey to the Champions League. A team with little financial clout that often sells their best players in the transfer windows.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) May 26, 2019
Gasperini manager of the season.
This term, Atalanta not only reached the Coppa Italia final, but recorded yet another club record points total to reach the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Naturally, such an achievement led to rumours that “Gasp” may leave the club to take the vacant position at AS Roma, yet he has opted to stay put after signing a new contract with La Dea until 2022.
“I’d already made up my mind to stay, we just wanted to wait until the end of the season so we could enjoy what was a remarkable achievement,” Gasperini told the Atalanta’s official website.
“We had to lay the foundations for next year and the club assured me they wanted to keep improving, and that convinced me to stay.”
Sinisa Mihajlovic (Bologna)
It was a truly miserable start to the campaign for Bologna supporters. Under the stewardship of Filippo Inzaghi the Rossoblu had earned a shockingly low tally of just 14 points after 21 matches, as well as having found the net just 19 times.
In truth, it was a surprise that Inzaghi had clung to his job for so long, and on January 28th the club moved to appoint tough-talking boss Sinisa Mihajlovic. From that moment onwards, Bologna never looked back, as they recorded a 1-0 win over Inter at San Siro in the Serbian’s first game in charge.
Mihajlovic took a team that looked certain to be relegated to a tenth-place finish in the league, recording nine wins and three draws in just 17 matches in charge. His organisational and motivational skills brought the very best from the squad and marked an incredible achievement in such a short space of time.
Max Allegri (Juventus)
While stale performances in the Champions League ultimately cost Max Allegri his job at Juventus, his domestic achievements must still be recognised.
The Bianconeri won an incredible eighth consecutive league title this season, one that was wrapped up way back on April 20th with five rounds to spare.
The team may not have played their most sparkling football for the vast majority of the campaign, but the very fact they managed to win the league by such a margin – and without reaching a peak performance level – only serves to highlight the sheer amount of work that has previously gone into this winning side.
Since taking over from Antonio Conte in 2014/15, Allegri has won five league titles, adding Coppa Italia trophies in four of those campaigns. Such an unprecedented achievement deserves to be recognised as the Coach now moves on to pastures new.
Leonardo Semplici (SPAL)
Having taken minnows SPAL from Italian football’s third tier to Serie B in 2016, followed by a promotion to Serie A in the following season, Leonardo Semplici was already a hero at the club’s Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara.
Such a rapid rise for a side that had been away from the top flight for 50 years was nothing short of sensational, but SPAL were amongst a group of teams that would always be expected to be sent straight back to where they came from at the end of the season.
Yet this didn’t happen, as Semplici – a former Fiorentina youth team boss – quickly adapted to his first ever season in Serie A and kept his side up. This term, the Coach has not been simply content to rest on his laurels, and has once again kept SPAL in the division, only this time they finished up a comfortable 13th.
His superb work has not gone unnoticed however, and the Ferrara-based outfit may now struggle to hang on to their intelligent boss this summer.
Walter Mazzarri (Torino)
This term, a well-organised Torino have scored 60 points under Walter Mazzarri, a club record in the three-points era.
The Granata have also conceded nine fewer goals than last term as they finished in seventh place, a nod towards the stellar form of goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu and a well-drilled backline.
Lazio’s Coppa Italia win meant that seventh was not enough for a place in Europe, but Toro could still find themselves in the Europa League next term if AC Milan bow out due to problems with FFP. In truth, that would be a fitting reward for Mazzarri’s work this term, as he squeezed the very best from a side constructed from a limited budget.