“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
~ Sun Tzu - Quote on leadership
We just finished our first three games post-pandemic. Fiorentina was not only expected to be competitive in each, but most felt the team should get at least 6 points from this stretch. Due to poor roster management and a double yellow, a very good looking Fiorentina tied Brescia at home. Fiorentina then lost to Lazio in a way that enraged us all. We legitimately watched the referee steal our chances to win away from us multiple times. Then last night we were embarrassed at home to a good Sassuolo team; not because Sassuolo was better, but because we were not set up for success. We saw a team that was not disciplined, a team that was misguided and out of position. They lacked the spark that we Viola fans have come to expect from our team, even if we cannot expect to win always. So, what happens next?
I love everything Beppe stands for. He is a former Viola player who clearly loves the club and city. He was tasked with a very hard assignment in taking over for Montella midyear and then had to deal with his momentum dissipating during this global pandemic. That said, what he has faced, at least in one respect, is no different than any other coach or team. The expectation was to see him professionally take this team back into the top half of the table and generate momentum for a strong mercato and entry into the 2020-21 Serie A season. Unfortunately, that has not happened. With nine games left we now find ourselves as a team without direction, a team that is confused and looking for clarity on the future.
As fans we see report after report linking us to top players which, don’t get me wrong, is very exciting and something we have all longed to see. Belotti, Silva, Vertonghen, Paqueta, Schick, Pedro, Rugani... the list goes on and on. But can we effectively recruit players without knowing the system we will play and who will coach them?
Respectfully I implore the Fiorentina leadership, before we evaluate any players coming in or going out, to first address the position of head coach with urgency and diligence. This decision is the most important one that Fiorentina has faced in a long time. After we haphazardly kept an uninterested Montella coming into this season (Rocco had just purchased the club) we then limped into a decision to bring in Beppe, despite him not having a track record reflective of Rocco’s ambition and the club not having the players to fit his system.
Rocco, your passion is awe-inspiring and the fact that you are willing to spend the money you have earned from your life’s work in the media industry on improving this club is more than any of us could have ever asked for, but Fiorentina cannot operate as a club without a captain to our ship. We do not yet have the belief at the player level that we should win every game. We need someone who can take our very talented youth and mold them in HIS image, get them to do what HE wants. This past year we have seen so many moments of individual brilliance by many players but we have yet to see a team effort that is worthy of the Viola fan support.
Joe and Rocco, please take time to evaluate this position and announce our next coach right now. Prioritize this over the stadium negotiations, player evaluations, negotiations with Fede and the building of the training grounds. Your players and your fans need to see a world-class coach who can lead this team into next year and beyond. Prade needs to know the system that we will play next year and then build to fit that, rather than bringing in players who may not fit the system and look like fish out of water.
We have learned this year that we cannot take a coach lightly and we cannot ask Daniele Prade to just acquire talent for talent sake. It needs to fit the system.
I have said recently that two things have been consistent for the past few years; poor coaching and piss-poor officiating. We need to get back to winning through grit, excitement and preparation. We need to change the culture inside of Fiorentina back to one where we know we will win before we ever take the pitch. Sun Tzu tells us a fundamental belief that you have already conquered your enemy before you ever faced them is necessary. The best way to do this right now is to get a coach capable of changing this mentality.
Rispettosamente e Sempre Forza Viola!