Sunday April 11 2021
Gattuso deserves more recognition

Gennaro Gattuso is expected to part ways with Napoli at the end of the season, but Vijay Rahaman believes the 2006 Italy World Cup winner deserves more recognition.

One year ago, Napoli won a trophy for the first time in six years, as the Partenopei lifted the Coppa Italia beating Juventus on penalties in the first game after the lockdown.

Fast forward just under ten months later and the Partenopei's coach Gennaro Gattuso is strongly rumoured to be leaving at the end of the current campaign. This is due to several reasons.

First of all, a breakdown in the relationship with the always headline-grabbing President Aurelio De Laurentiis and then an early Europa League elimination at Granada's hands. Not to mention the Azzurri are currently out of the top-four in Serie A.

However, is it really fair to sack Gattuso?

Until Wednesday's loss to Juventus in Turin, the two-time Scudetto champions were unbeaten in their last six games, including those against Milan and Roma.

They had also managed a 4-3 win over Serie A strugglers Crotone that had recovered from two goals down. That win proved the Azzurri are indeed fighting for their coach.

In this crazy Calcio world, coaches are always a few bad results away from the sack. The adage of "what have you done for me lately" is the norm of the day.

In Gattuso's case, many people tend to forget the former snarling midfielder took over a club in crisis in December 2019. He arrived when everyone seems to be against each other, in a situation that leaded to Carlo Ancelotti's sacking. Somewhat ironically, considering how close he and Gattuso are.

"Ringhio" gathered a squad in disarray and guided them to a trophy just months later.

Who can forget his celebrations when Arek Milik stroked home the winning penalty against Juventus? The world seems to have changed since then.

Napoli have exercised a "silenzo stampa" of late, but surprisingly, De Laurentiis tweeted his praise for the team after this week's defeat to Juventus.

The movie mogul stated: "Well done, lads. We leave with heads held high, and above all, I enjoyed myself to the end." Interestingly, it came after a loss versus an inconsistent Bianconerri team, whose own boss Andrea Pirlo, was under considerably more pressure.

Could it be the President's "own way" of calming the waters and giving his coach the "vote of confidence"? Maybe yes, but reports regarding Gattuso's Napoli exit have intensified, and it seems unlikely he will be the Napoli coach in 2021-22.

The fact that  Gattuso had to deal with so many injuries during the season it's something that can't be ignored. Victor Osimhen and Dries Mertens spent considerable time on the treatment table with shoulder and ankle ailments, respectively. Andrea Petagna also got injured in February, and Napoli found themselves without a fit centre forward despite having three in their team.

Imagine Inter playing without Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez for months. Or Juventus without Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata at the same time.

However, the 2006 World Cup winner is not without blame. 

He has acknowledged that Napoli's issues are not technical or tactical but rather physiological, and it's his responsibility to send his team out with the right mentality onto the pitch.

Another issue pointed out by several Napoli fans is Gattuso's use of substitutions. The former midfielder has been accused of waiting too long to make changes, although this is a gripe that needs to be put into context with an extensive compact schedule.

Despite the difficulties, the product on the field has improved, as Napoli is more pleasing to watch and remain close to a top-four spot after today's 2-0 win against Sampdoria.

They have the third-best attack in Serie A, with 63 goals scored and the Azzurri have hardly disappointed since their strikers returned to action.

Osimhen has scored two goals in the last three games and the Azzurri can regret the most expensive signing in their history has been out of action for half of the season. Again, imagine what this Napoli side could have been with him fully fit for the entire campaign.

Gattuso has always blamed his teams for not performing up to the standards, constantly repeating, "it's my responsibility." That in itself is refreshing, as we live in a football world, where blame is quickly and often assigned and "passing the buck" is a common practice. That's why straight-talking is often not appreciated in football, especially in Serie A.

In late January, Gattuso stated, "My staff and I give our blood for Napoli." You can bet he will give that and more until the end of the season, before he part ways with Napoli, but there's no bout he would deserve way more recognition for what he’s done at the Stadio Maradona.



Have your say...
(Cont'd) For example, instead of telling clubs they can only field 3 "foreign" players or can only make X transfers, why not say clubs must field at least 4 (or 3 or 5, etc.) homegrown players? It may not solve the transfer merry-go-round per se, but it would guarantee that promising talent will have space to play and develop at a given club.
on the 14th April, 2021 at 4:41pm
@ MH. I don't disagree with that. I feel more that way about youth players than players who were brought in and didn't work out. The Locatelli affair is embarrassing. Same thing with Cristante maybe to a lesser degree. I think you've discussed capping transfers and loans. I see the merit, but for reasons beyond football I see this as tough to sell. I think a rule mandating a minimum % of the starting lineup as having been developed at the club could be more palatable. Cont'd...
on the 14th April, 2021 at 4:37pm
Yeah he probably does deserve to continue but the real question is who the f are they going to get that's supposed to come in and do any better? They're never going to win the League, CL or Euro. Their perennial goal year after year is just making the top 4, good luck to them.
on the 13th April, 2021 at 6:15am
@ Vero Rossonero The only reason I look back is to learn the lessons from the past. It’s a reminder that we need to show some patience with managers and give players time. We’re still paying for some mistakes. Locatelli could well end up going to Juve this summer. We need to make sure these things don’t happen with the next generation.
on the 12th April, 2021 at 11:05pm
Sometimes maybe good sometimes maybe sh*t
on the 12th April, 2021 at 7:46pm
@Maldini's Heir. There's no way of knowing how things would have turned out had Gattuso stayed and had we held onto those players that have since left. The facts are changes were made and we're now 2nd. It makes no sense to look backwards now. If we were 8th, it would be a different story. That being said, I'd like to point out that Gattuso took over a squad that on paper, at the start of the season, was mostly better than Milan's, and has been mostly together for a few seasons.
on the 12th April, 2021 at 5:45pm
"Imagine Inter playing without Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez for months. Or Juventus without Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata at the same time." Imagine if Milan had had Ibra available for more than 50% of their matches, or if we'd had a natural backup(s) like Juve and Napoli do...
on the 12th April, 2021 at 5:40pm
Gattuso and Fonseca have had a bit of time to start the build and incorporate the style they want but not quite enough time yet. They both deserve to stay another year and see where they're at. If it still doesn't look like they're heading in the right direction in a years time then maybe think about a change. But now it's too early, especially as both teams look like they're progressing somewhat
on the 12th April, 2021 at 1:37pm
If I was managing a team and I thought the best way to get results is to play a high intensity, pressing from the front game with lots of pace and energy and then I had Ronaldo, Dzeko, Dybala as my choice of strikers I would fail. They're all brilliant players but they don't fit into how I want to play. A good manager knows they won't get everything they want the moment they take on a job so they have to adapt to what they have at their disposable whilst they build the squad they ultimately want
on the 12th April, 2021 at 1:35pm
Leadership comes from confidence and ability and Gattuso has always had plenty.
He has done an admirable job unifying Napoli and deserves credit for competetive results on the pitch though Injuries have hurt.
My critisim is often Napoli plays beautifully but not with intelligence, silly errors reflect a lack of concentration and their defense is inconsistent.That said, Rino realizes that the mental part of the game is a major key to success and has tried to imbue his team with mental toughness
on the 12th April, 2021 at 1:34pm
Like Fonseca at Roma Gattuso should stay and have another season. What people forget is that all these managers live and breath football, most of them (not all it has to be said) have a plan and vision of how they want their team to play and what they think will be the most successful style. To implement these various styles takes time on the training pitch and the right type of player. All of which requires time.
on the 12th April, 2021 at 1:33pm
form going from that season, and Milan could well have kept Cutrone. It would've been a different team, we'll never know if it would've been a more successful. It presumably would've been more successful than Marco Giampaolo. That was of time. Anyway back to the here and now, 4 points behind. If Milan finish above Napoli then it'll have been the right decision. I wish him all the success in the future though. He's a legend.
on the 12th April, 2021 at 10:41am
There wasn't really any reason for Milan to get rid of Gattuso and it's hard to know where we'd be right now had he stayed. His Napoli team are only 4 points behind us so all that change produced an extra 4 points, 2 years later. Gattuso probably would've kept together most of the squad from 2 years ago including the likes of Bakayoko who had established himself with Kessie, Paquetá might be produced the form for Milan that he's now producing for Lyon, maybe Piątek could have kept his impressive
on the 12th April, 2021 at 10:37am
Napoli deserves a new stadium like in Turin.
on the 12th April, 2021 at 6:56am
Gattusso is the most unlucky coach in the world imo. he coached milan when they have turbulent ownership, when maldini and boban come, he never get thrust he deserved. considering what happened off and on field on milan that time, what he cant done more.
now he also unlucky on napoli, injuries and unstable owner like ADL, still napoli playing better than juventus this season even thou they lost juve. he deserved better
on the 12th April, 2021 at 6:40am
Has done well but Napoli have a top 4 squad. The fact they are below Milan shows he probably hasn’t done enough. He has 8 games to show he deserves to be in charge of a big club. Starts this weekend against us. Napoli are the only team in serie a this season who completely outplayed us yet we somehow won, we did the same to Milan early in season when they got the points and we embarrassed them in the cup + return leg. Hoping it doesn’t happen to us! But would be huge for their top 4 chances
on the 11th April, 2021 at 10:59pm
He did very well at Milan as well. Shame if he left but fiorentina waits
on the 11th April, 2021 at 10:47pm
As a long-time Napoli fan, I was ready to see pretty much every single coach they've had since Walter Mazzarri move on. Benitez couldn't even be bothered to move out of his hotel; Sarri was brilliant except when it came to rotating his squad; and God alone knows what Ancelotti was doing.

But I strongly feel Gattuso has earned one more season and a raise. It would not only be wrong for ADL to move him on, it would be stupid. The players clearly love him.

Here's hoping for good sense.
on the 11th April, 2021 at 8:03pm

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