BLOG ITALIA
Wednesday November 17 2010
A solution or a problem?

From concentrated to laissez-faire, Cagliari switch Coaches and focus, but as Rob Paton asks, does Roberto Donadoni have the answers Pierpaolo Bisoli didn't?

After successive promotions with Cesena exerting a mix of tactical ingenuity and solid man-management, Pierpaolo Bisoli's time at Cagliari has been evidently less successful, lasting just 12 rounds before Roberto Donadoni was brought in this week.

There are several criticisms of former Cagliari player Bisoli's time in the dugout. Tactics were overly focused on the defensive set-up of the side, with selections in attack leaving critics perplexed, seeing strikers Alessandro Matri and Nene used out wide and Andrea Cossu seeing long stretches of play completely bypass him.

Bisoli, only 43 and a former favourite at the Stadio Sant'Elia, struggled to control the dressing room, with Andrea Lazzari and Davide Biondini in public acts of defiance and Alessandro Agostini and Daniele Conti even fighting amongst themselves.

In bringing in Donadoni, Massimo Cellino has acted somewhat surprisingly, choosing to upset, despite the above, what both Bisoli and he had called a long-term project by bringing in a Coach with a series of recent disasters on his CV.

Donadoni has left his last three jobs under a cloud, resigning from Livorno despite being sixth in Serie A, released by the Italian FA after the Euro 2008 disappointment and sacked by Napoli having collected just 18 points from 18 games during 2009.

Playing 4-3-3 with Italy and 3-5-2 with Napoli, Donadoni struggled to develop teams with energy – performances on the pitch suggesting very little imagination in attack and minimal concentration in defence. The spell with the Partenopei ended having seen the side throw away advantageous positions in consecutive games to careless mistakes.

Donadoni was one of the peninsula's most promising young Coaches, earning his reputation in a second spell with Livorno, leading them to sixth in the League by February 2006 before a fall-out with President Aldo Spinelli led to his surprise resignation. Donadoni's 24 games that season yielded 13 clean sheets and 39 points, playing unspectacular but effective football built around Cristiano Lucarelli.

Cellino has hired a Coach – described as shy and introverted – with a history of purposefully not falling into line. At Lecco he sided with players over unpaid salaries, and was openly critical of both Aurelio De Laurentiis and Spinelli in ending working relationships, and lasted just three games under Enrico Preziosi at Genoa in 2003.

It is unfair to second-guess how Donadoni's tenure with Cagliari will go, but we can assume he won't get longer than fan-favourite Bisoli. For a club to have sacked a Coach who was accused of defensive play, Donadoni has never won in Serie A by more than two goals and only overseen one League game with more than three goals scored by his side – a 6-4 defeat to Parma.

Cellino's faith is best reflected in the contract reported to have been drawn up, taking Donadoni to the end of this season, with an option for another 12 months. What was long term under Bisoli isn't under Donadoni.

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