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Thursday March 17 2011
Trouble at the top

Rocco Cammisola on the problems at Palermo under their volcanic President Maurizio Zamparini

Five games played and five defeats. If two losses constitute a crisis then this is a full on catastrophe. Palermo's form column confirms the mess they're in and their President is left searching for yet another scapegoat with which he can lay the blame, though they're running out fast.

Last season saw the club achieve its highest ever position under Delio Rossi, so continuing that success was always going to be imperative. The owner, though, is a difficult man to please and following a humiliating 7-0 home defeat to Udinese, the incensed chief gave Rossi just a one per cent chance of keeping his job. The following day he was dismissed.

Serse Cosmi was brought in as a replacement and has had two matches with which to try and turn the situation around. Sadly for Cosmi there has been no sign of any honeymoon period following his appointment and they have lost both games while producing alarmingly flat displays. Cosmi hasn't helped himself by singling out starlets Javier Pastore and Josip Ilicic for criticism.

Before the Christmas break, Palermo were one of the most exciting teams in the League. However, their recent barren spell has been underlined by problems at both ends of the pitch. They have conceded 15 in their last five games and have failed to score in just over 400 minutes – their last goal coming in a 4-2 defeat to Fiorentina.

Their inconsistency isn't a complete surprise as they have the youngest squad in the Division. Matters weren't made any better by an injury crisis up front, as well as having sold star players Simon Kjaer and Edinson Cavani in the summer.

To help a young squad out of this boggy mire then encouragement, patience and stability are going to be of the utmost importance from the staff and fans around them. Rather than show his inexperienced team the support needed to carry through the more troubling moments of their season, Zamparini chose to nit pick and criticise instead.

The raging Venetian has tried to meddle with matters on the pitch all season, and has caused rifts between ex-sporting director Walter Sabatini and Rossi. Both of whom are now no longer at the club. Win, lose or draw there was always a problem with the team in the President's eyes.

After having pushed everyone else aside it appears that Zamparini may have started to doubt himself. Rumours he has begun negotiations with Gian Piero Gasperini for next season suggest he could already be having some regrets regarding Cosmi's appointment.

The President has also issued an ultimatum. "If we lose to Catania and Milan as well then I'll resign," he stated this week. It's not the first time he's threatened to go this season, I hasten to add. While he is unlikely to follow through on his threat, he may like to take a look at himself before airing his dirty laundry in public again, for Palermo's sake more than his own.

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