Giuseppe Sannino admits he is surprised by the difficulties being encountered by Josip Ilicic at Fiorentina.
The Slovenian international moved to Florence in the summer after a €9m fee was agreed with relegated Palermo.
“I don’t know what is happening to him,” Sannino, who bossed him in Sicily last term, told Tuttosport.
“Vincenzo Montella is a great Coach who knows what to do with his team. But Ilicic needs to understand that certain trains only pass once in your life…
“He is a very strong player, both in terms of his character and his physique. And he really pushed hard in training with me.
“But his technique is obviously his strong point, he has qualities that he probably is not even aware of himself yet.”
The 25-year-old scored 10 goals in 31 Serie A games last term.
Ilicic, who has had injury problems this season, has been used for just 109 minutes over five Serie A games in 2013-14.
The player has been linked with a possible January switch to Torino.