Cesare Prandelli is a noble man.
Following Italy’s disastrous first round exit at the 2014 World Cup, the tactician accepted “complete responsibility” for the failure, and resigned almost immediately after the final group game against Uruguay. Sadly for Prandelli, this was the start of a career nose-dive that he still hasn’t pulled out of.
The tenure may have ended abruptly and the psychological effects remain, but it must not be forgotten Prandelli defied the odds two years previously when his Italy side reached the Euro 2012 Final. The former Fiorentina Coach has demonstrated his ability, but the sport is unforgiving.
After two ill-fated club spells, it’s imperative his next position provides stability and rehabilitation to a career in need of a real boost. The Orzinuovi-born trainer assumed roles at Galatasaray and Valencia and on both occasions spoke of “broken promises.”
This recurring theme does not tell the full story, though, and Prandelli certainly wasn’t blameless. At Gala he failed to acknowledge the club was fiercely proud of being Turkey’s main European representative, and instead focused primarily on the domestic front.
Conceding 16 goals in four Champions League matches against Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal further riled the fans and was a contributing factor to his dismissal. Prandelli also struggled to immerse himself in to the culture and traditions of the club and ultimately had little chance of succeeding.
It was perhaps his public frustration at the lack of incoming signings which sealed his fate. This is the proverbial end game for restless Coaches and there was only one outcome for the Italian.
At Valencia, Prandelli quit after just 10 games, having requested four new players, but left to choose between a midfielder and Simone Zaza. While the well-travelled tactician can’t be criticised for wanting a quick return to football, the Mestalla’s vociferous atmosphere may not have been the most appropriate environment, following a spell in Turkey with similar demands from both fan base and club.
The coverage of Valencia is intense, and the difficulties encountered by his predecessors were well documented, so the unenviable task at hand shouldn't have come as a surprise. Prandelli may have underestimated this, but when a club has three Coaches and one caretaker manager in 13 months, the warning signs should be there.
Something was, and remains, fundamentally wrong. The Liga side has no structure from top to bottom and lacks direction. There is no leadership and the philosophy of the club is blurred. The sudden resignation of director ‘Suso’ Jesus Garcia Pitarch and angry fan protests further highlighted the deep fractures within the Valencia hierarchy.
Prandelli cannot afford continuous managerial upheaval and must get back to basics. A club with lower expectations would be sensible, where he can rediscover the joy of coaching and perhaps replicate his Fiorentina model. The Viola were relegation strugglers when the seasoned boss was appointed and he turned them in to regular European participants, notably reaching the last 16 of the 2009-10 Champions League.
A return to Florence is not so fanciful. Paulo Sousa is expected to leave at the end of the season, and the longest-serving Coach in the Tuscan side’s history may soon be able to find solace in familiar surroundings.