Sunday December 11 2016
Roma missed Montella chance

As Vincenzo Montella returns to Stadio Olimpico as a Scudetto challenger, Gaby McKay says Roma may regret snubbing him in the past.

When Milan Coach Vincenzo Montella takes his place on the Olimpico bench on Monday night, Romanisti may reflect that he could easily have been sitting in the other dugout. A club legend during his time as a player and already working with the youth system, it looked for all the world that it was Montella’s destiny to one day take the helm, but the capital club repeatedly allowed him to slip through their fingers.

The former striker had a brief caretaker spell on the Giallorossi bench in 2011, replacing Claudio Ranieri and steadying the ship for a sixth-place finish. It was generally agreed that L’Aeroplanino had done a decent job, but he wasn’t given the opportunity on a permanent basis.

Instead of sticking with Montella - a Scudetto winner with the Lupi in his playing career - Roma went for a ‘flavour of the month’ appointment, in the shape of Barcelona B Coach Luis Enrique. He may be a Champions League winner now, but Enrique was a poor fit at the time, imposing a sterile possession game which brought only seventh-place.

Montella, meanwhile, was building his reputation. Just days after being told he was no longer required at Roma, the Coach was appointed at Catania. The faith shown by the Elefanti would be rewarded, with Montella leading the unfancied Sicilian side to mid-table.

Once again, the young tactician was linked with a return to the Eternal City, but once again Roma decided to look elsewhere. Rather than put their trust in the hands of the inexperienced but promising Montella, the Giallorossi opted for a return to the past in the shape of Zdenek Zeman, with predictably trophyless results. Days after Zeman was confirmed at Roma, Montella moved to Fiorentina.

It was in Florence that Montella truly started to shine, bringing an attacking possession game to the Viola. The Tuscan side had finished a lowly 13th in the 2011-12 season, but Montella’s revolution brought fourth place for three seasons in a row, as well as a Coppa Italia Final and a Europa League semi. However, after publicly bemoaning the board’s lack of ambition (sound familiar, Paulo Sousa?), Montella was sacked at the end of his third season.

Following a brief spell amid the chaos at Sampdoria, Montella was given the Milan job this summer. A poisoned chalice to many before him, the Coach is making a success of the Rossoneri. Despite a lack of investment in the summer, Montella’s side are just four points off the top of Serie A, level with Roma. Taking largely the same squad which failed his predecessors and adding some raw youngsters, the 42-year-old has the Diavolo looking truly dangerous once again.

His opposite number on Monday night, Luciano Spalletti, is only under contract until the end of the season, and it’s far from certain he’ll renew. Should he walk away in June, Roma could be looking for their sixth Coach since Montella was allowed to leave.

As the writer of any hackneyed rom-com could have told them, they had the right man under their nose the whole time.

Have your say...
Next appointment should be Di Francesco.
on the 12th December, 2016 at 10:41am
I believe Roma will win with ease on Monday. Sadly we are missing Bonaventura which has been irreplaceable this season. Tho, I can say this. Milan has so far done over my expectations not only maintaining in EU spot but also playing with such young team and still not lagging.

I think Roma will win 3-1
on the 11th December, 2016 at 12:17pm
Easy to say now we're looking back. Imagine at that time, Montella was a debutant coach. We all know how fiery and high-pressure the expectation at Rome. Do you think for such a young inexperienced coach, he would have handled such pressure as he did now with Milan?

I believe his experiences with Catania, Sampdoria, and Fiorentina are what shaping him as he is today.

Too naive to think that should Roma have chosen him instead of Luis Enrique, he would have brought Roma easily to a bigger glory
on the 11th December, 2016 at 11:48am
Montella did well raising budget limited team's level. He doesn't have any experience in any top tier teams nor the UCL. The next coach after Spaletti will not likely be him. Maybe in the next 5 years he could!
on the 11th December, 2016 at 11:07am
I also agree.
...But I also remember that Montella lost every game played against Roma.
(I'm not 100% sure and I'm too lazy to check the stats...)

I just feel confident when Roma plays Montella's sides.
Today will be interesting
--Milan will counter-attack and CAN win this way.
on the 11th December, 2016 at 11:05am
I agree. But Daje Spalletti and Forza Roma!
on the 11th December, 2016 at 2:12am

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