In a rather surprising news on Tuesday, Genoa have announced the dismissal of coach Davide Ballardini and the return of Milan Juric. The Grifone have currently four wins and three losses and are in 12th position in the standings, but president Enrico Preziosi had voiced his displeasure with the direction of the team after the bad home loss against Parma in the weekend. In particular, he was reportedly unconvinced of the manager’s defensive plans, since they have already conceded 14 points.
Ballardini was appointed last November, replacing Juric, and led them to a serene season, where they finished in 12th position, 16 points above the relegation line. However, the owner is no longer content with just avoiding the drop because he believes the team can fight for more prestigious goals thanks to the arrivals of Krzysztof Piatek, Domenico Criscito, Romulo, Sandro and Christian Kouame.
Hence the decision to recall Juric despite the decent start, who, similarly to Ballardini, sits on the Rossoblù bench for the first time in his career. In the first occasion, he was Gian Piero Gasperini’s lead assistant in 2013/2014, then he returned in 2016 as head coach after a great season in Crotone. He was fired twice by Preziosi in the past, once in February 2017 and substituted with Andrea Mardorlini, only to return in April, then again in November. He coached 44 games in Genoa, winning just ten times, collecting 11 draws and 24 defeats.
The initial reports indicated that Preziosi intended to wait for a couple of games before making the switch, but instead decided to give the new coach, who was already under contract, the break to install his system. In their next fixture, they will face Juventus on the road.
Genoa were one of the least prolific teams last season, having scored just 33 total goals. That has changed this year, primarily due to Piatek’s rare form, since he is the League’s pichichi with nine goals in seven appearances. However, they have indeed looked a little unbalanced at times, and have given up 12 goals in the three losses to Parma, Lazio and Sassuolo.
Ballardini was relying on a 3-4-1-2 with either Goran Pandev, Daniel Bessa or Iuri Medeiros in the hole. Juric usually prefers a three-man defence too, but might opt for a stouter midfield and do away with the trequartista. It is possible that Domenico Criscito moves back to the left wing back position to have three physical centre-backs.
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