The analysis and reactions on the day after Fiorentina’s games lately have become just a little repetitive.
Win, lose or draw it’s been the same old story. A Fiorentina which is just not performing, Beppe Iachini’s tactics and formation constantly under scrutiny and our manager unable to explain his decisions, at least not in a way that has any logic or sense behind it.
Maybe it’s time for Fiorentina, if they are not going to replace the manager, then to at least keep him away from the microphone. Almost as disastrous as the performances during our recent games have been the press conferences of our manager both before, but especially post-match.
His ridiculous claim that he had no idea that Federico Chiesa would be sold when defending his decision to hand him the captain’s armband for what would be the players last game for the club was bad enough. But to hear him constantly use the excuse of injuries as a reason for the team’s poor displays is just plain embarrassing.
At the moment we have one first team player who is struggling with injuries, Germán Pezzella. While our captain is obviously an important member of our team, injuries are part and parcel of football, and if this is the only one we have then using it as an alibi is just wrong, and desperate. When you consider the problems other clubs have had due to the Covid issue, then it makes Iachini’s words even more shameful.
We struggled to beat Serie C side Padova last week, a team that had players waiting for results of Covid tests when the game had already started. Their second half substitutions had spent most of the first half in the stadium garage waiting on these test results. Still, Fiorentina, after yet again going two goals up, by the end were hanging on and extremely lucky that their opponents didn’t at least force the game into extra time.
When the line-up for the match at the Stadio Olimpico was announced, you would have struggled to find anyone who could understand what exactly Iachini was attempting here. Television commentators were as perplexed as the fans when the game started as to just what the manager was trying to do.
I don’t think any of us were optimistic going into this game, and having seen the starting eleven, even less so. In the end we saw a Fiorentina team with absolutely no idea of how to go about this game, and an AS Roma side who should really have had at least another couple of goals were it not for the performance of Bartłomiej Drągowski.
You can’t even cling to an old reliable excuse, the referee, as Fiorentina were the team who seemed to have escaped with a couple of decisions that could easily have gone against them. A red card for Gaetano Castrovilli and a penalty against Martín Cáceres would not have been surprising.
We then had Iachini’s decision to remove Castrovilli, the only dangerous player we have these days. Okay, he was on a yellow card, and was lucky just before the break not to receive a second one, but if you’re going to bring on ALL of your strikers then surely Castrovilli is a man you still need on the pitch.
And so we came to Beppe Iachini trying to explain the result and more importantly the performance of his team. To hear him say that he had started with Franck Ribéry and José Callejón up front from the start in order to tire out the Roma defense (by using two of our oldest players) to then insert our actual strikers in the second half to go and win the game, this was bad enough. But to then say that Roma had ruined his plans by scoring? Well maybe he should have let Paulo Fonseca, the Roma manager, know what the game plan was before kick-off.
He also spoke of how there is still room for growth, and anyone watching Fiorentina play lately would say there is without a doubt a lot of room for improvement, but with the current manager, I don’t think that it’s going to be possible.
He clung to the fact that Fiorentina had started the game well, claiming that they had created 3 or 4 important chances, when in reality we had one effort on target, a Christian Kouamé header straight at the keeper in the final minutes. This is one area however where I can’t blame the manager, the club’s insistence in not providing him with a proven striker; from what we’ve seen so far, the three forwards at his disposition are not up to this challenge.
He also likes to remind us of Fiorentina’s great start to the season, if you can call a 1-0 home win against a Torino side which has managed one point so far and allowing Inter to not only equalize but go and win the game a great start. Now is not the time to look back, to point to what little you have managed to achieve, it’s time to look forward, and with this manager in charge, the future is looking very bleak. How long can Fiorentina continue with this situation, and Iachini too, with his position called into question after every game.
If he does insist on looking back to the start of the season, maybe he should take a look at that victory over Torino. Duncan was one of our best players in that game, and we have barely seen him in the side since: two appearances as a substitute where he has come on with less than ten minutes to play. If this is how a player gets rewarded by Iachini for a good display then is it any wonder we’ve seen very few of those recently?
Some people have pointed to the fact that not having our fans at the stadium is another excuse for the below par performances. Really? Last season, before the lockdown, Fiorentina managed a grand total of 2 wins from 13 home games; after the lockdown, 2 wins from 6. In my opinion it’s the complete opposite: Fiorentina and especially Iachini are lucky right now that there isn’t the pressure of a full stadium, where the fans would not be long in letting their feelings be known.
What now? The morning after has brought out the usual rumours. There is talk of Alberto Aquilani, the Primavera manager, taking charge temporarily for the Parma game on Saturday. It’s more likely however that Beppe Iachini will still be the Fiorentina manager for that game, and with the international break to follow, the club will then have a little more time to make a decision.
Hopefully that decision won’t depend entirely on the weekend’s result, as they need to look at the overall picture here and decide what exactly they want from this season.
I have mentioned before that the current Covid situation certainly doesn’t help. When the season is at risk of being halted at any moment it does make it more difficult for a club to decide to invest even more than they already have. There is also the fact that bringing in a new manager would mean having three managers on the payroll, and as Rocco admitted, Vincenzo Montella was kept on in the first place mainly because he already had a contract.
Fans may have been willing to accept a difficult first year after Rocco Commisso took over, but a repeat of last season, especially if he refuses to change what most see as the reason for the squads problems, will not be greeted with as much patience.