Midweek review: start the sack race

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Have Italian clubs developed patience? Five rounds of the campaign have gone and so far only one coach has taken a ten-count.

Standards are certainly dropping amongst the rottweiler Serie A presidents, who generally like nothing better than chewing on the marrow of some unfortunate “Mister” following another early lacklustre performance.

Angelo Gregucci was left in tears when he was informed that his services were not required after leading Atalanta to four straight defeats.

His replacement, Antonio Conte, who some may remember as a balding midfielder for Juventus but who now possesses a luscious head of hair, has already shown much more backbone by getting himself sent-off on his debut, as well as securing the team’s first point of the season.

That came in the league’s rare midweek round of games which saw Inter climb back to the top of the table after a light work-out against Napoli, alongside Juventus who drew an absolute humdinger at Genoa last night.

The Neapolitans are coached by Roberto Donadoni, who looks odds-on to follow the humbling walk taken by Gregucci.

Donadoni has never really recovered from the battering he suffered from the Italian Football Federation during his ill-fated tenure in charge of the national team – and now the combustible Napoli chief Aurelio de Laurentiis has given the poor fellow the dreaded vote of confidence.

The movie mogul has dipped deep into his finances to hand Donadoni a talented if somewhat lightweight bunch of players and it is obvious that they are in need of the hairdryer treatment, having picked up just four points so far.

The way the Partenopei rolled over at the San Siro on Wednesday wouldn’t have happened under the craggy old Edy Reja, but all Donadoni could do was stare into space as his side crumbled within the first five minutes.

Another former Milan player pretending he isn’t feeling the hot blast of his employer’s breath on his neck, is of course, Leonardo.

The dapper Brazilian is on a hiding to nothing really – lumbered with a team well past its best and having to put up with Ronaldinho - but he is so caught up in cooperate babble that he probably believes everything he says when he claimed that his side played well at Udinese.

Apart from Antonio di Natale, Udinese are no world-beaters and the 1-0 scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story of how dire the visitors were.

The only Rossoneri player showing any steely resolve is Alessandro Nesta, who is obviously just happy to be playing again and either doesn’t notice or has decided to ignore the dearth of commitment all around him.

Inter haven’t been able to stop guffawing loudly at their neighbours’ plight and Massimo Moratti has even taken to ribbing everyone with calls for lame Leo to be given more time.

And when is a good moment to sack the ultimate fall-guy?

In Italy, that can be at any time including before the season even starts, which befell Gianni de Biasi who was shown the door at Torino on the eve of the campaign a few seasons back.

Down in the depths of Sicily, the devourer of many a tracksuit-wearing minion, Maurizio Zamperini, is already curling his lips up in rage.

However, this time he’s not pushing around timid Francesco Guidolin but tough guy Walter Zenga – and any set-to could be as explosive as Mount Etna.

While we’re at it, we might as well cast a few doubts over Davide Ballardini’s long-term chances of remaining in the capital.

In the Lazio boss’s defence, he has been hindered by a crippling injury list and just as importantly by the fact that Claudio Lotito has ostracised Cristian Ledesma and Goran Pandev for refusing to sign new minimum-wage contracts.

Livorno don’t really have a coach as Gennaro Ruotolo has not completed all his coaching qualifications so Vittorio Russo, who has been knocking around for eons, has to stand lamely on the touchline.

Gianluca Atzori has no else to blame and probably has a removals van permanently parked outside his house in Catania.

Refreshingly, it’s not always coaches who fall on their sword but also owners, with Andrea Della Valle calling time on his stint as president of Fiorentina.

Having spent years ignoring the sniggers about his brother Diego’s sartorial fashion statement (wearing a cashmere sweater as a scarf – it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it), the shoe and leather entrepreneur took umbrage at Florence city council for dragging their heels on green-lighting a plan to build a new training facility.

Having dropped something in the region of 170million Euro into the club coffers over the last seven years – and with the fans demanding a few more big names - Andrea walked away rather than waste any more valuable time and money.

Not many coaches would follow that lead. But wait a second, didn’t Luciano Spalletti do the self-same thing recently?

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