Thursday September 17 2020
Maran clear front-runner in sack race

Coaches promise to be even more disposable than usual this season, and Owen Diana already has an idea of who will be the first to go...

The COVID-19 pandemic has emptied stadiums and lightened the wallets of clubs up and down the peninsula, but even an international health emergency has been unable to stop the ceaseless whir of the managerial merry-go-round in Serie A. This most atypical of domestic campaigns will surely see a sacking before the winter chill sets in, leaving the question of which mister will be the first to receive his marching orders. Although there is no shortage of candidates for the unwanted honour, Genoa’s Rolando Maran must be the early favourite.

The main reason why Maran stands out in a crowded field is Grifone benefactor Enrico Preziosi. Even in a league with a rich history of trigger-happy owners, the toy industry tycoon has set himself apart in recent years. Preziosi has overseen no less than nine coaching changes since April 2017, including two during a disastrous 2019-20 campaign.

Preziosi’s scatter-brained strategy precipitated consecutive final-day escapes from relegation danger, and it seems that he is hell bent on flirting with demotion to the second tier once again. Davide Nicola was the architect of the last miraculous salvation, but the hugely popular boss was unceremoniously dumped at the end of August.

Maran will have had only a few weeks to work with his charges before the starting gun rings around Marassi on Sunday, and a lack of adequate preparation is not the only factor harming the former Chievo trainer’s chances of success. There has been little investment in a squad short on quality, with the loan return of prodigal son Mattia Perin the most notable piece of business.

The injury-prone netminder was also between the sticks during the back half of last season yet was unable to stabilize a shaky rear-guard that conceded a whopping 73 goals in 38 games. With no additions made in defence so far, Perin should be very busy indeed.

Maran must solidify that leaky back-line, and his counter-attacking approach should help in that regard. Furthermore, the Trento-born tactician boasts ample top-flight experience and had Cagliari breathing in the rarefied air of the Champions League places heading into early December last time out. However, the 57-year old was let go less than four months later after a disastrous 12-match winless run, and he will have to rediscover his Midas touch quickly in order to keep Preziosi at bay.

A challenging calendar will do Maran no favours. Genoa face Napoli and Inter in the first five rounds and also lock horns with two solid mid-table foes in the shape of Verona and Torino. Consequently, the opener against new boys Crotone is crucial.

While Maran is already treading in choppy waters, the vagaries of Serie A’s coaching carousel are often impossible to predict. Securing safety is even more important this year given the damaging economic effects of the pandemic, and already impatient front offices around the country are likely to be even more tetchy as a result.

Few head coaches in Italy are bullet-proof, with a fresh face for the dugout often preferred to costly squad rebuilding operations. However, only Maran has to answer to Preziosi, and that makes him particularly vulnerable. Job security is difficult to find in Italian football, but it is a pipe dream when dealing with the ringmaster of the managerial circus.

Have your say...
@Owen Diana: did you watch Genoa play this weekend? if you did then I will bet the farm that Maran will not be the first Coach to be fired this money is on Crotone's Stroppa
on the 21st September, 2020 at 8:37pm
@ Juve Fan - you're absolutely correct about Pioli but the same could be said about Conte. He was gifted a brilliant, Scudetto winning squad and has continued to manage at the highest level so sometimes it's about what you can do with an opportunity when it presents itself. Same with Allegri. Pioli has always been treated as a makeshift, now he's been given a fresh start with reasonable expectations I hope he flourishes but I reserve my judgement until the end of the season.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 1:32pm
Managers in Serie A have a hard time as it is, can we please not be so disrespectful. If we had ended the season at Christmas, Maran would've been lauded as a hero and Pioli as a pantomime villain but here we are.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 12:25pm
@ a Versavia i would go as far as limiting one manager change per season. It has become ridiculous to watch so many manager changes per season.
on the 19th September, 2020 at 2:16am
does anyone really think Pirlo will last entire season ? sarri was there for single season, scraped a scudetto, and made the coppa final, and his head was on chopping block after CL exit.
Ferban/Varsavia make good points...its better to be coach and sit home for 2 years and collect 5million euros than to actually work with stress and pressure. coaches are let go to easy in serie A. coaches have been fired after 2-3 games. whats funny is when they hire the coach theyd fired 3 times over? stupid.
on the 18th September, 2020 at 5:02pm
Pioli 1st to go. Expectations have raised! The uprise in performances at the end of last season was because of COVID, the team got on a roll, injuries helped, everyone playing games every 3 days, a very different scenario to usual. In the normal world Pioli is an interim manager at best, look at how hes gone in all other jobs. Started amazing at inter and sacked before the end of his first season. His milan team def isnt as good as that inter team was either. That was an average team too!
on the 18th September, 2020 at 3:56am
the manager has always been a scapegoat in italian footbll, for a club with genoa which has been progressively run down by preziosi over the last decade

in addition they youth policy is a joke they sell the majority of their youngster for small fees and sign 30 plus year old free agents as replacements.

it is the kind of incompetence you would see from zamparini palermo side endless selling players for no real gain.
on the 17th September, 2020 at 9:25pm
@FERBAN... very well said, totally agree!
on the 17th September, 2020 at 7:23pm
How much he getting paid? Only fools would step into such merry go rounds.
on the 17th September, 2020 at 5:36pm
I believe there should be a limit of no more than two coaches per season.
on the 17th September, 2020 at 11:03am
The hiring/sacking situation in Italy is like a bad joke.

I think it's also been one of the reasons that young players are often left out of team sheets in Italy - because managers are always looking to save themselves from game-to-game, and therefore to scared to trust young players who might be more prone to making mistakes.

What's more, aren't these clubs paying multiple managers at the same time?
on the 17th September, 2020 at 10:40am

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