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Monday December 19 2016
Time to oust Sousa

Paulo Sousa can only take Fiorentina so far and his constant chopping and changing is holding them back, writes Chloe Beresford

The great Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Paulo Sousa has been trying, and failing, to make his brand of football work for Fiorentina for a calendar year.

For casual viewers of the Viola, this view may seem harsh or even reactionary on the back of a 3-1 defeat to Lazio. Captain and key central defender Gonzalo Rodriguez was ruled out through illness before kick-off, Borja Valero injured, highly sought-after midfielder Milan Badelj was suspended and the Biancocelesti were in good form.

Totally outplayed in the first half and 2-0 down at the break, Fiorentina missed a penalty and were forced to fashion a makeshift defence when Nenad Tomovic was unable to continue. The Tuscan side emerged for the second half with renewed vigour, and put Lazio on the ropes when substitute Mauro Zarate made it 2-1 just after the hour mark.

All of the above are completely valid reasons why – to those aforementioned casual viewers – Sousa’s side were unlucky and had plenty of excuses to lose this game. In truth, this was just a continuation of the problems that had plagued the team since late last season.

Goals from Josip Ilicic and Nikola Kalinic had dried up, and the team were dominating games with sterile possession without any cutting edge, finishing below fourth place in the league for the first time in four years.

This was blamed on a lack of strength in depth, after a calamitous January transfer window led by previous Sporting Director Daniele Prade. In the summer however, in came Pantaleo Corvino to sort out the mess, and the paper-thin squad was bolstered by cut-price but quality finds such as midfielder Carlos Sanchez.

Despite this, removing the lack of personnel excuse for Sousa has simply made the problem worse. This term, the side has been lacking direction, with the Coach also using a scattergun approach to team selection, seemingly unable to make up his mind on his best XI and which formation to deploy.

There is absolutely no doubt that Fiorentina have good players, Kalinic having proved this with two fine solo efforts against Sassuolo to earn victory less than a week ago. But without a competent conductor, a group of fine individual musicians do not make an orchestra.

Some players, such as Zarate, seem unable to retain their place in the line-up after doing superb work on the field. The Argentinian has provided three goals and one assist in just 219 minutes of football in the current campaign. On the other hand, despite a dreadful performance against Genoa in midweek, Federico Bernardeschi is seemingly untouchable.

Through misplaced passes, turnovers and failed dribble attempts, the 22-year-old lost the ball no less than 21 times during the match. Whilst undoubtedly talented, Bernardeschi needs direction and must be made aware that if he continues to run at defenders and lose the ball without passing, he will be replaced in the side.

In truth, the Italy international perfectly encapsulates Fiorentina’s stagnation as a team – and perhaps even regression – in the last few months. He, like the collective unit, has not improved or lifted his performance when it matters most, spends far too long dwelling in possession and is easily neutralised by well-prepared opponents.

Yet given that this malaise has affected a squad that has undoubtedly been strengthened over Sousa’s tenure, the blame cannot be laid at the feet of the players. Instead it is the man who should be working on these issues and correcting the faults who needs to be dealt with.

Rather than those on the pitch or the laundry list of excuses, it is Sousa’s inability to instil an identity or philosophy that has left the team looking rudderless. The Portuguese boss has given some players too much leeway, while being overly harsh on others, his constant changes in formation causing confusion in his own side rather than making them unpredictable.

Speaking after the loss to Lazio, the Coach said that Fiorentina “deserved more” and as a team, a city and a fan base, they undoubtedly do. Sousa has proven himself incapable of delivering it. Enough is enough.

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Have your say...
What the 'Barcantina" of 12 months ago, thinking of sacking of sacking their genius coach? I suppose he could help the legal team in the case against Inter for poaching Salah. Anyone who reads/listens to the media is more stupid than themselves.
on the 21st December, 2016 at 6:06am
Wasn't Sousa very mad and almost left the club in the summer?
He is just getting his revenge after the management let him down in the mercato.

But joking aside, the squad is weak and has no depth. Simple.

@McClown
Everything is a conspiracy with you.
And you just had to jam Juve in there, you just had to. Lol your boogeyman.

And La Gazzetta being Juve's machine is the joke of the year.
But that's to be expected from our resident clown.
on the 20th December, 2016 at 10:12pm
@Mclupo-“Who's they?"He wanted to know."Who,specifically,do you think is trying to murder you?"
"Every one of them,"Yossarian told him.
"Every one of whom?"
"Every one of whom do you think?"
"I haven't any idea."
"Then how do you know they aren't?"
"Because..."Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didn't know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them
on the 20th December, 2016 at 7:25pm
Ms Beresford, Einstein was made great by the media, and he stole all what he is famous for when he worked at the patents office in Switzerland, and the theory of relativity that made him famous, was the work of French scientist Henri Poincarré.
So please Ms Beresford, stick to football, and do not repeat what Gazzetta says, it is you job after all to comment on games YOU have seen, and not games written about in gazzetta, the propaganda machine of Juventus.
on the 20th December, 2016 at 1:52pm
OK. So I am a casual viewer and Fiorentina do have a good team and some excellent players but there is the problem! Not enough strength in depth! Plus the 2nd season after a good first one is always more difficult because the other sides have worked you out and your style more! This may be why he is chopping and changing, also bear in mind the Europa. They sold Alonso and brought in Sanchez and who else? Of course it will go stale? Think Jovetic would help them IF they can get him from Inter?
on the 19th December, 2016 at 9:13pm
Some of the expectations are unjust at best fiorentina are a top 4 team expecting more from them on a limited budget it absurd. In addition it is a team of foreigners with just 5 Italians in the first team which is shocking especially considering their academy produced Bernardeschi, did their academy just develop one excellent player? It seems fair to me to get rid of sousa at the end of the season if they finish outside of European spots.
on the 19th December, 2016 at 6:55pm
It's a shame what's happening to this team. But Sousa isn't completely responsable. Every other Serie A contender spent well in the summer market, but not La Viola, despite some good sales. Let's be honest they don't have the players to compete with the Top 3 teams.

I think they should keep on Sousa until the end of the season, but start looking for a replacement as soon as posible and more important: invest more on the summer market (i don't think the winter market will provide any help).
on the 19th December, 2016 at 6:26pm
Don't change a thing until after the Napoli game. Need 3 points on Thursday.
on the 19th December, 2016 at 5:03pm
Fiorentina is nothing without in-form Borja Valero. But even when he is fit and plays his usual game, he doesn't have support since he's occupied by average players in midfield with no creativity. Fiorentina deserve more, but not sacking Sousa, but changing Dela Valle and Cognini.
on the 19th December, 2016 at 4:23pm
Einstein never said that quote. It comes from a 1983 book called Sudden Death by Rita Mae Brown.
on the 19th December, 2016 at 1:16pm
To be fair what can he do? No budget lost Alonso players starting to age I guess!
on the 19th December, 2016 at 9:53am

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