Gasperini can fix Palermo's "negative" image

Gian Piero Gasperini will make his debut in the Palermo hot seat on Sunday believing he can change the Sicilian club's negative image and last longer than his unfortunate predecessors.

Volatile owner Maurizio Zamparini has fired an average of two coaches a season since buying the club 10 years ago, but last week's decision to dispense with Giuseppe Sannino after only three games seemed drastic even by his standards.

Zamparini admitted it barely made headlines when he fired coaches but said Sannino had to go because his relationship with the team had deteriorated.

"It's news that is not even a story," said Zamparini, who was previously president of Venezia from 1987 to 2002.

The Italian players' union (AIC) joined in the criticism of his hire-and-fire approach.

"I think it's difficult to move forward with a real project when the coach is forced to leave after a few matches," said AIC president Damiano Tommasi.

"I believe the squad at Palermo's disposal is a good enough one for Serie A and their ambitions."

There are varying estimates as to how many coaches Zamparini has fired in his career, the numbers depending on what is considered an "interim" coach and complicated by the fact that he has sacked some coaches more than once.

Francesco Guidolin has coached Palermo four times under Zamparini although his second and third stints were separated by only two weeks after his initial sacking was "revoked".

Gazzetta dello Sport put the total at 41 with Stefano Poli as the shortest-lived coach having been fired before taking charge of a single Serie A game in August last year, although he was in charge of two Europa League qualifiers.

Gasperini, meanwhile, has been out of coaching for a year since he was dismissed by Inter Milan after only five games at the start of last season.

He makes his debut at Atalanta on Sunday with Palermo quickly needing to pick up points after taking only one from their first three games.

The new coach is convinced he can last the distance, pointing out that he survived at Genoa for four years under Enrico Preziosi, known as a tempestuous president.

"Preziosi was another president who changed a lot of coaches, but I convinced him," said Gasperini as he was officially presented.

"I think there are the possibilities here to dispel the negative stereotypes. Palermo is an important footballing centre and it is my aim to bring back the enthusiasm to this club.

"It's a chance to re-launch myself in an important area," added the 54-year-old. "I've been out in the cold for a year and I have great motivation.

"The championship has only just started and there is nothing lacking with the squad. Palermo need a clear idea of their style of play, without changing from match to match or during the match itself."

Titleholders Juventus, Napoli, Lazio and promoted Sampdoria all defend 100 percent records at the weekend, although Sampdoria have eight points rather than nine after having one deducted over involvement in the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal.

Juventus should continue their run at home to Chievo on Saturday and Lazio, inspired by Brazilian midfielder Hernanes, are also favourites at home to Genoa on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Sampdoria host Torino and Napoli visit Catania.

Troubled AC Milan will be glad to get away from San Siro, where they have failed to score in three home games this season including last Tuesday's Champions League tie against Anderlecht, and visit Udinese on Sunday.


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