Serie A Sack Race: AC Milan switch Marco Giampaolo for Stefano Pioli, and Eusebio Di Francesco comes unstuck at Sampdoria

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 09 October 2019, 11:36

It’s been an eventful International Break over in Serie A with two high-profile managers given the boot already, while a third boss is currently walking the managerial tightrope...

Sampdoria: Eusebio Di Francesco out the door

It was only the first day of the International Break, but Sampdoria wasted no time in announcing that they had parted ways with boss Eusebio Di Francesco on Monday.

“President Massimo Ferrero and UC Sampdoria announce that they have reached an agreement with Eusebio Di Francesco and his technical staff for the mutual termination of their professional relationship,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

The news came as no surprise after the former AS Roma boss had overseen an abysmal start to the season, his side losing six of their opening seven matches, conceding 16 goals and scoring just four in the process. After his spell with the Giallorossi also failed, the Coach now faces a difficult journey ahead in order to repair his tattered reputation.

His work at Sassuolo between 2012 and 2017 had meant he was previously viewed as one of Italy’s most exciting young bosses, but a mixture of his own ineptitude and poor squads to work with in his latest two jobs has turned that on its head.

After only seven games, Di Francesco is not the only Serie A boss who has dramatically underperformed…

AC Milan: Marco Giampaolo out, Stefano Pioli in

AC Milan have moved to fire Marco Giampaolo before domestic action resumes as the Rossoneri have suffered from some high-profile struggles.

The tactician arrived with a glowing reputation following his work at both Empoli and Sampdoria, but it seems like the pressure of the job at San Siro had severely limited his abilities. Three wins and four defeats have seen Milan slip to 13th in the table, but it is the team’s performances that have proven to be most worrying.

No less than four players have been sent off in their first seven matches, with Davide Calabria the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to have been dismissed twice already this term.

Statistics reveal exactly how deep this crisis runs. Giampaolo’s former side had only scored three times from open play and registered just 22 total shots on target across all of their seven matches this season, with none at all on target in their opening encounter versus Udinese.

Ex-Fiorentina Coach Stefano Pioli has come over in the other direction on a two-year deal, yet the truth is that he’s not the ideal appointment for Milan.

There are deep-rooted problems within the club, who are now owned by US hedge fund Elliott, which still need to be addressed. They sacked Gennaro Gattuso last summer, a man who had fared better than any previous ex-Rossoneri players who had given the managerial hot seat a go.

The 41-year-old was still finding his way with some of the finer tactical nuances that are so important in Serie A, but he had at least brought some stability to a club that has been so erratic in recent years.

He missed out on Champions League qualification by just one point at the end of last term, and how desperately the fans would like to get back to even that level right now. Gattuso had his limitations, but it’s so important to realise that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Who’s Next?

Genoa haven’t fared much better than the aforementioned Sampdoria, having earned just five points by Week Seven in Serie A. Their boss Aurelio Andreazzoli was predicted to struggle by our season preview on The Sack Race, and this has now turned out to be the case.

He now looks set to be fired over the coming days but – just like neighbours Sampdoria – the Genoa owner has sold far too many of the club’s best players. Andreazzoli may not be the man for the job, but the root of the problem is not being addressed with the continual hiring and firing of a constant stream of different names on the bench.

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Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander
(Salford City)
12th October
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