Roma sack Di Francesco and hire Ranieri as caretaker


Roma have fired Eusebio Di Francesco following the elimination in the Champions League round of 16 at the hands of Porto, which took place four days a shocking loss to Lazio in the Derby. Claudio Ranieri has been chosen as caretaker manager until the end of the season. They have also parted ways with sporting director Monchi.

Di Francesco has been on the hot seat in mid-December while the team was slumping again after a pretty mediocre start, but the Giallorossi appeared to turn things around by winning six of the following eight rounds in the following two months. They almost completely erased the gap that separated them from the Champions League zone, but that was not to save his job after what transpired in the last few days.

Di Francesco, who spent four years with La Lupa as a player and was part of the title-winning team in 2000/2001, joined the club last year after a successful run with Sassuolo. Roma finished third last season and reached the Champions League semi-finals, but underperformed thus far this season.

Ranieri is coming off a failed stint at Fulham, where he took over in November but could not drag the Cottagers out of the relegation fight, losing ten out of 16 matches. However, he is already familiar with the surroundings as he has already managed the team in 2009/2010, coming within few points of the Scudetto, while he was dismissed the following season.

The 67-year-old coach, best known for the incredible Premier League title with Leicester, beat out the likes of Paulo Sousa, Christian Panucci and Roberto Donadoni, who were all at some point considered in case of an immediate coaching change. The ex-Fiorentina coach is widely expected to take the Bordeaux job instead.

Ranieri is pretty flexible tactically and therefore there should not be dramatic changes in that regard and fantasy studs such as Nicolò Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaaraawy should continue to thrive and they will be hoping to get some consistent scoring out of the seesawing Edin Dzeko and Patrik Schick. However, he will have to find a way to fix defensive phase, which was a strong suit last year, but has become extremely leaky, as they have already conceded 36 goals, which is just the tenth clip in the League.

The sporting director Monchi was under heavy scrutiny as some his high-priced acquisitions, like Stevan N’Zonzi, Justin Kluivert and Javier Pastore have not worked out and Robin Olsen has been unreliable. He was also a big supporter of Di Francesco, but he lost out in the power struggle with consultant Franco Baldini and other officials and therefore elected to leave.

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