The day after the disaster at Spezia, and while the initial anger of some fans may have subsided, the delusion certainly hasn’t. Where do we go from here?
We’re not here to insult anyone, and we’re certainly not here to judge a man’s work on one game, no matter how bad it may have been. But the thing that concerns me most about yesterday are the words of Beppe Iachini after the match. First of all, when so many clubs are dealing with forced absences due to Covid, including our opponents yesterday, to use the excuse of injuries and players away for International duty during the break, in my opinion, is the sign of a desperate man clutching at straws.
He also seemed to believe that Fiorentina deserved more from the game, when the reality is that Spezia were the team who looked more likely to win this one. After going two goals up in the first five minutes, it looked like for once we could sit back and enjoy watching a Fiorentina match. In the end, we were made to look like a team without any ideas, a team playing with fear.
Hearing a manager give instructions to his team during a game, this is what the lack of fans at the stadium has allowed us to do. Against Sampdoria, we were treated to a Claudio Ranieri masterclass, but hearing Iachini shout “Gioca” every time one of our players receives the ball is just embarrassing and irritating, and it seems like it has also started to irritate some of the players. Their reactions yesterday to their managers instructions was a mixture of frustration and exasperation.
The one thing Iachini does have in his favour at the moment is indeed the fact that his team are not playing in front of a packed Franchi. We can just imagine the reception these performances would get from a full Curva Fiesole, and Rocco Commisso would be left in no doubt of the fans’ feelings.
But enough about this match, we have a much bigger problem than just one disastrous display. From the start of this season, Iachini has struggled with the squad he has, players out of position, unable to change his formation, five substitutions allowed and his seeming refusal to change anything until it’s practically too late, and when he does, substitutions made without any logic. Looking at the players right now, they certainly don’t seem to be giving 100% for their manager.
It’s possible that during the last transfer window his requests weren’t fully satisfied. A lot of us have lamented for quite a while that we’re without a proven striker. But any manager needs to be able to work with the squad at his disposition, something that right now Iachini does not seem capable of doing.
Beppe Iachini was brought in during last season to turn things around, to take Fiorentina away from the relegation zone - objective reached. But the decision to confirm him for this season was not exactly greeted with much enthusiasm from the fans. It could be seen as a reward for satisfying the request of the club owner, he did the job he was employed to do and Rocco saw fit to grant him a chance to prove that he was capable of more.
Now though the time has come when questions are being asked, and as Rocco Commisso has been present for the last couple of Fiorentina matches, surely he can’t be surprised by this, or satisfied with what he’s seen? As recently as his latest interview, he has stated that Beppe Iachini has not only his full support but also that of Joe Barone and Daniele Pradè. Questions are being asked though, exactly how much of the team really is behind the manager. Rocco did also say that of course results are what matters for a manager, and having only one win so far from four matches, and with the last two performances especially, he must be already considering the manager’s position.
We do need to keep in mind however, the current situation. A Serie A that’s constantly at risk of being suspended due to the pandemic, is not exactly the best period to ask a club owner to invest heavily in a new manager, and also to keep two ex managers on his payroll
This is a crucial crossroads for the owner though, a time to show exactly what ambitions he has for the club. We all know he has big plans for the future, with the new Centro Sportivo and his wish to build a new stadium. The clubs fans however, want to know what he wants from the playing side of things. He didn’t over commit himself in the objectives for this season, declaring he would be happy with another top half of the table finish. Another transition season though, with the risk of being involved at the bottom of the table, or at best mid table anonymity is not really what fans were expecting when he took over the club.
It’s more than obvious to Fiorentina fans, and to anybody else looking at this team playing right now, that with Beppe Iachini in charge, this squad won’t get very far. With players like Gaetano Castrovilli, Franck Ribéry, Sofyan Amrabat, Nikola Milenković and Germán Pezzella at a manager’s disposition, our ambitions should really be higher. We may have lost our top scorer, and we still haven’t found ourselves a proven striker, but surely there is enough talent in this squad to perform better than we are right now?
Personally speaking, I cannot see Beppe Iachini losing his job just now. Having only confirmed him just before the end of last season, it’s hard to see Rocco Commisso now decide after only four games of the new season that his time is up. It would also be seen as admitting that his original choice to keep faith with Iachini was a mistake. He has shown himself to be a loyal man when it comes to business, but in business, and also in football, sometimes these hard decisions need to be taken.
There are many questions on fans’ minds right now- What exactly does this club and owner want to achieve? Why have they already made the same mistake twice now with two managers? Are there problems in the dressing room, between players and manager? Does Beppe Iachini really have the backing of Pradè? Where will the goals come from? When will we see this team play the way we know it should?
The main question though, which almost everyone is asking, is if Rocco Commisso will decide to admit the errors made, and to show Beppe Iachini the door? For me it’s not really a matter of “if” anymore, but more a case of “when”.