The typical Italian club President is short-term orientated. Instant results are a must and what happened three weeks ago may as well have happened three years ago. The seemingly endless flow of coaching changes can in part be attributed to jolting a misfiring team into form. It has worked for Cagliari, with Ivo Pulga overseeing three successive wins. The same cannot be said for Gian Piero Gasperini at Palermo or Chievo’s Eugenio Corini.
After Genoa’s capitulation versus Roma – they coughed up a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 – Enrico Preziosi was the latest to swing the axe, Luigi De Canio his latest victim. “The team had started to become confused in recent weeks and it was with that consideration that I decided to change,” said Preziosi. “I feel validated by my decision and in my heart I think it's the right one. De Canio worked well, but maybe I was expecting different things from him.”
Recent form was a catalyst. De Canio oversaw only two victories in 2012-13 – on the opening day against Cagliari and a smash-and-grab at Lazio. Following that late September win, the Grifoni gained just three more points. Then came the Giallorossi and the end of Preziosi’s patience.
The President believes Del Neri “can be the right man” even if his first match ended in defeat. On one hand he was handed a difficult assignment away to Milan. Yet this was a vulnerable Milan there for the taking, as Sampdoria and Atalanta have shown. In the end, Genoa succumbed to a single-goal loss. On a weekend of officiating errors, it was kick-started by the award of Stephan El Shaarawy’s goal.
The new boss took positives from the unfortunate reverse but knows they need time. “I am happy with the defensive work done by the lads. It wasn’t easy to come here and immediately set the tempo, but we have to get accustomed to attacking higher up the field.”
He added: “We have motivated players and I start from the idea you cannot want everything straight away. We must start from the positives and try to improve.”
Del Neri fielded his customary 4-4-2 formation, with Ciro Immobile leading the attack in the absence of Marco Borriello. He was joined on the sidelines by Marco Rossi, Damiano Ferronetti, Juan Manuel Vargas and the suspended Michele Canini. When Del Neri can include these ‘important absentees’ to the XI he will have the personnel to suit the shape, which he tends not to stray far from.
Besides fielding a narrower midfield toward the end of his reign, De Canio’s team utilised a wing-based style. This has been a mandate at the Grifoni in recent years and will suit the former Sampdoria tactician. A cavalier outfit in the past, whether they become accustomed to the counter-attacking method is another issue. Chasing a match can be a problem – Del Neri’s Juventus struggled to eradicate deficits and so too was the case on Saturday night, even if time was a factor.
Nonetheless, the Coach believes they are on the right path. “The team defended well and had courage, so I like that attitude, but I’d prefer more logical passing options. It will require patience, but this side already gives me some good guarantees.”
On Thursday Genoa host Fiorentina. A key to Del Neri’s Rossoblu reign will be to ensure the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is a fortress once more. A past Grifoni haven from patchy road form, it does not offer the same security this term. One win, two draws and two losses does not make for kind reading. Although, they face a Viola side winless on their travels.
They must do without the aforementioned absentees, bar the returning Canini. He has been impressive this term and is a boost for Del Neri, adding solidity to a backline which earned praise at San Siro. Del Neri’s task now is to transfer his ideas across to the squad and importantly, gain the confidence of the temperamental Preziosi.