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Since enjoying a successful time in charge of Napoli, where he led the Partenopei back into the promised land of the Champions League, it is fair to say Walter Mazzarri’s coaching career has failed to continue in the same upward trajectory.
His spell at Inter was overshadowed by Massimo Moratti’s decision to sell the club to Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir while, after a promising start to life in England, he endured a troublesome period at the helm of Watford.
In truth, having been fired by the Hornets after failing to establish a positive working relationship with many of his players, it was difficult to see where Mazzarri’s next opportunity would come from.
It therefore came as a surprise when he was confirmed as Torino’s new coach, with the Granata deciding to dispense with the services of Serbian tactician Siniša Mihajlović.
Make no mistake, appointing the 56-year-old Tuscan is a huge leap of faith for any club.
Not because he is unreliable, but due to the fact he has such precise tactical beliefs that he will almost certainly require a raft of new players to follow him through the door.
His preference is to deploy a 3-5-2 system, which obviously places a lot of demands on his two wing backs who are expected to contribute effectively in both phases of play.
Indeed, it is inevitable that Mihajlović’s preferred 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation will be ripped up by Mazzarri and replaced with a three man defence.
The fact Diego Laxalt has already been linked with a move from Genoa to the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino is a clear indicator that the new boss will waste no time in ensuring things are done on his terms.
It remains to be seen how his line-up will take shape from an attacking perspective, though Andrea Belotti will of course remain the team’s main focal point.
It will also be interesting to see what the future holds for the likes of Iago Falque and Adem Ljajić, who quite conceivably will not fit into Mazzarri’s long-term plans as he tends to prefer physically strong players.
There are many questions to be answered over the next few months in terms of how the latest incarnation of Toro will look. It may take some time to implement all the changes he intends to but, come the beginning of next season, there is a good chance Mazzarri’s team will be almost unrecognisable from the one Mihajlović left behind.
For a coach who once boasted about the fact he had never been sacked by any club he had been at – that is no mean feat for an Italian – Mazzarri now knows that he will live or die by his choices.
There is a very talented group of players in Turin who have, for one reason or another, been unable to fulfil their potential as yet. Maybe, just maybe, he would be better off seeing what he can do with them for the time being.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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