Serie A side Genoa sack Ivan Juricby Chloe Beresford / 07 November 2017, 09:59Tweet
It didn’t come as a surprise to many when Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri won the Panchina d’Oro (Golden Bench) award earlier this year for his outstanding work in 2016. After the results had come through however, Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini revealed that he had made an entirely different choice, selecting Ivan Juric and Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco as his nominees.
The veteran must have been particularly proud of the former as - after having him in his Crotone and Genoa squads as a player - he saw him blossom as a Coach under his tutelage at Palermo. From there, Juric took his own role at Crotone, but the ideas of Gasperini were still in his head. He took on the 3-4-3 formation used by his former boss and duly performed miracles with the Calabrian side, a feat which led to the vote from his mentor.
With one of the tiniest budgets in Serie B, Crotone had set out plans merely to survive the drop before they embarked on the 2015/16 campaign. Newly-appointed Ivan Juric, however, had other ideas. The Pitagorici went on to secure their first-ever promotion to the top flight, a staggering five matches before the season came to an end.
A 1-1 draw with Modena at the end of April mathematically sealed their entry into Serie A, a magical moment for Juric and the people of the Southern city. “There are so many emotions,” said the Coach to Sky Italia after that match.
“Seeing so many people with tears in their eyes is the greatest feeling I’ve had in my sporting career.”
Yet Juric would not go on to lead his side into that maiden campaign, receiving an offer that was too good to miss at Genoa, another of his former clubs. The apprentice had replaced the master, as the Gasperini had moved on to take up his current post at Atalanta, terminating his contract with the Grifone by mutual consent.
It was to be his first outing in Serie A as a Coach, and things started brightly. A win over former side Cagliari along with famous victories over Milan and Juventus at home delighted the fans, but it was soon to turn sour. A run of eight games with just two points scored started with a 3-4 loss to Palermo on December 18th and ended with a humiliating 5-0 thumping by bottom of the table Pescara.
Juric had not been helped by sales in the January window, with Tomas Rincon heading to Juventus and striker Leonardo Pavoletti having signed for Napoli, but the club decided to sack him nonetheless. Former Hellas Verona boss Andrea Mandorlini was briefly brought in to replace him, but he too was gone by April after four straight defeats.
The club decided the best way forward was to swallow their pride and reinstate Juric, a move which would see them stay up despite the player sales as club owner Enrico Preziosi looked to find a suitable buyer. The entrepreneur remains at the helm, with Genoa having taken just one win from 11 games prior to last Saturday’s derby with Sampdoria.
Reports suggested that Preziosi had met with Juric for crisis talks ahead of that clash, handing him the difficult task of winning the fixture versus their high-flying neighbours in order to save his job.
“I remain very calm. I realise the derby is a separate game to the rest of the season, almost like a Champions League Final,” the Genoa boss admitted in his pre-match press conference. “I hope it can be the turning point, as the squad does have a lot of quality, both in football terms and as people.”
But ultimately Sampdoria were too strong and a 2-0 defeat led to the sacking that so many had predicted. Former Palermo boss Davide Ballardini remains the favourite to take over, a Coach who has had two previous spells with Italy’s oldest club. With the question of ownership still in the air, Genoa’s problems are by no means fixed. If their next appointment fails to be the correct one, Ivan Juric could see himself back on the bench for the second time in two seasons.