Luigi Delneri is the sixth coach in two years to take charge of Genoa after replacing Luigi De Canio. Is he the man to satisfy the expectations of their President?
Genoa President Enrico Preziosi is not one to hang around when it comes to managers or the playing staff. After the disintegration against Roma (2-0 up in 15 minutes only to lose 4-2) De Canio was swiftly shown the door and instantly replaced by former Sampdoria and Juventus coach.
But does Delneri have the necessary tools to bring relative success to Genoa? Will he be given the opportunity by a notoriously impatient boss?
Preziosi’s time as Genoa President has been a colourful one. He bought Genoa in 2003 and since then has overseen the Rossoblu’s four year journey back to Serie A. Their most successful year came during Gian Piero Gasperini’s time in charge when they incredibly finished fifth in the 2008/09 season. An attacking 3-4-3 formation produced dynamic performances that entertained a whole nation and drew special praise from Jose Mourinho.
The loss of Motta and Milito that summer to Inter coincided with Genoa dropping back to mid table obscurity over the next few seasons. The fading memory of that top five finish seems to have exacerbated Preziosi’s lack of patience and has dominated his tenure ever since. It saw Genoa’s President end Gasperini’s reign and ushered in a period of major upheaval; they have since hired and fired five coaches in two years, culminating in Luigi De Canio’s dismissal last week.
The cull of managers has not produced any better results but no less damaging has been player turnover. Players are not given an opportunity to integrate or settle. Preziosi, a toy factory owner, treats his coaches and players like a spoilt child treats his toys; he always wants something else.
Since 2009 there have been 94 arrivals and 94 departures. Compare that to Napoli, who have signed 42 and sold 43 in the same period. In that time Napoli have not finished lower than 6th; while Genoa have not finished above 9th.
Considering Preziosi’s dream would be to replicate the Azzurri’s success, he could learn a lot from owner Aurelio De Laurentiis. Will putting Delneri on the Stadio Luigi Ferraris’ bench make them come true?
Delneri built his reputation during his spell at Chievo, propelling the unfancied ‘Flying Donkeys’ all the way to Serie A. His great strength was improving the players which was the key to his Chievo success. Simone Perrotta was one of those who benefited. Signed from Bari, he was a mainstay in three successful years in the Chievo side before a move to Roma. Perrotta later played in all seven matches en route to Italy being crowned World Champions in 2006.
However, it will have been his successful year at bitter rivals Sampdoria that persuaded Preziosi to hire him. The Blucerchiati had finished the previous campaign in 13th place before the arrival of Delneri propelled them to Champions League qualification.
Delneri helped to reinvigorate Antonio Cassano, who had seen his career stall at Real Madrid. His partnership with Pazzini gave the team a razor sharp edge up front. With both Chievo and Sampdoria he was able to use the squad at his disposal and produce better performances from them as individuals and as a unit, helping them reach unexpected heights.
However, these successes must be seen beside his failures. Delneri was hired by Porto to succeed Mourinho, only to last a matter of months. He did not even take control of a single competitive match. The club cited the “methods of his training sessions” and an “inadequate tactical system”. It would be hard to not see the treatment of Delneri as harsh but the suggestion of his not being able to manage at the highest level is a fair one.
As coach of the Old Lady, a bright start faded miserably as Juventus struggled to perform consistently and ended in lowly 7th position. Juventus, post Calciopoli, needed vision and direction; Delneri had neither the personality nor the strength to provide answers. His inability to repeat his successful year at Sampdoria is a major blot on his report card.
The Rossoblu do have quality in their squad with Sebastien Frey in goal, strength in the backline with the likes of Caesar Bovo and Andreas Granqvist, Juraj Kucka and captain Bosco Jankovic provide goals from midfield whilst last term’s Serie B top goalscorer Ciro Immobilie leads the attack. The problem is the fragility about the side which is undermining their overall play.
It is sorting this that will be Delneri’s first task. In week 3 against Juventus, Genoa had a glorious opportunity to go deservedly 2-0 ahead having been the better team. The miss was critical as the Turin outfit turned the game on its head, winning 3-1. Then there was De Canio’s final game versus Roma which provided evidence of their potential, but highlighted their brittle defence.
Delneri’s previous work shows a man who can work quickly in providing better performances and unity. For the short term he would seem to be an ideal man for Genoa to turn to. The question later will be, can he provide longevity, something he has not done since leaving Chievo eight years ago?
An away game to AC Milan could be an ideal game to set a marker down with the Rossenero struggling badly. For the demanding and ruthless Preziosi, Delneri will need to produce results fast.