Saturday September 3 2011
Palermo 'axed Pioli because of Napoli'

Palermo director Sean Sogliano explains “if it weren't for the friendly with Napoli, Stefano Pioli would still be the Coach today.”

The Sicilians axed their tactician before the season even kicked off, as after elimination from the Europa League and a 3-1 friendly defeat to Napoli, President Maurizio Zamparini ordered his dismissal.

“Pioli had not been able to create the right atmosphere within the squad. I was sorry and I can understand he was upset,” director of sport Sogliano told Il Giornale di Sicilia.

“The Europa League elimination had nothing to do with his sacking. After the friendly with Napoli, we evaluated the work done over the last two months and took a decision.

“If it weren't for the friendly with Napoli, Pioli would still be the Coach today.”

Zamparini stated he'd like Delio Rossi or Claudio Ranieri on the bench, but for the moment it looks as if youth team manager Devis Mangia will lead Palermo in their Serie A opener against Inter next weekend.

“I respect Mangia a great deal, as he has clear ideas and is very relaxed. He's not frightened by the task ahead of him and I'm sure he'd have got a job at least in Serie B if we hadn't promoted him. I have faith.

“When we thought about replacing Pioli, it was only logical to make an attempt at reuniting with Rossi. He didn't close the door completely to a return, but said he didn't feel it was right at the moment.”

It was also widely publicised that Sogliano had a blazing row with President Zamparini on transfer deadline day, leading to reports he'd resign.

“We did have a strong disagreement and there were other people around,” confessed Sogliano.

“It was a moment of great stress and I asked to clear the air. We talked clearly and here I am. I am young, but I never step back from saying what I think.”

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