Tuesday, August 20, 2019

All change in Serie A: The task awaiting Sarri, Conte, Giampaolo and Fonseca

SoccerNews in Serie A 20 Jun 2019

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Serie A promises to be fascinating next season, with four of the biggest clubs in the league under new leadership.

Champions Juventus surprisingly parted company with Massimiliano Allegri and replaced him with Maurizio Sarri despite winning the title yet again, although runners-up Napoli have stuck with Carlo Ancelotti.

Inter and AC Milan both appointed new head coaches, with Antonio Conte and Marco Giampaolo taking charge respectively, while Paulo Fonseca is the new man in the Roma dugout.

But what do the four men need to do to make a success of their new jobs? Omnisport takes a look.

 

Maurizio Sarri (Juventus)

Perhaps the most daunting task awaits Sarri next season, as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of Allegri, who won five consecutive Scudetti. Indeed, the last campaign in which the Bianconeri did not win the title was 2010-11, and if Sarri cannot sustain their dominance his spell in Turin could be short-lived.

What’s more, he will be tasked with turning an Allegri team that, for all its success, was criticised for playing dour, defensive football into the kind of free-flowing, passing side Sarri created at Napoli. He was unable to make that transformation happen during a tumultuous year at Chelsea, but perhaps a return to Serie A will rekindle his particular brand of magic.

Paulo Fonseca (Roma)

Roma narrowly missed out on a place in next season’s Champions League, leaving new coach Fonseca in charge of a club in need of a morale-boosting return to Serie A’s top four.

The Giallorossi will still be expected to progress in the Europa League and Fonseca arrives in Rome with a strong track record in continental competition, having guided Shakhtar Donetsk to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2017-18. However, he will need to get more out of a talented group of players and keep on top of what Francesco Totti claimed has become a toxic environment at the Stadio Olimpico.

Antonio Conte (Inter)

Inter’s return to the Champions League did not go according to plan in 2018-19, and despite having their fate in their own hands, Luciano Spalletti’s side dropped out in the group stage and lost to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League round of 16. Spalletti did secure a second successive top-four finish, though, meaning Conte’s primary target will be to better the performance in Europe’s elite competition, while also closing the gap on Napoli – if not Juventus quite yet – who finished 10 points above the Nerazzurri.

Mauro Icardi is the elephant in the room and getting the best out of the striker who was stripped of the captaincy as a dispute over a new contract rumbled on in the second half of last season will also be top of Conte’s to-do list, should the Argentine remain at San Siro. If not, then it could well be Romelu Lukaku who leads Inter’s line next term.

Marco Giampaolo (AC Milan)

Giampaolo’s task will be, on the face of it, a simple one – gain qualification for the Champions League. Gennaro Gattuso’s failure to do just that ultimately cost the Milan icon his job at San Siro. It was a frustrating campaign for Milan and having led Sampdoria to a ninth-place finish last season, Giampaolo must now settle on a system that can see the Rossoneri challenge for the top four.

Milan’s squad does not have the quality it once did but Giampaolo has a natural goalscorer at his disposal in Krzysztof Piatek. However, his first port of call should be to solidify a defence that was left exposed under Gattuso, with Gianluigi Donnarumma having to come to their rescue far too often.

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SoccerNews

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