It would be an understatement to say Fiorentina have lacked consistency during the opening 12 rounds of Serie A this season. Currently sitting in ninth place – still within striking distance of a Europa League place – their record so far reads: LLWWLDLWWWLL.
There has been little rhyme or reason to their debut campaign under Stefano Pioli, who was sacked by Inter at the tail end of 2016/17 after leading La Beneamata through an incredibly poor run of form; a complete psychological collapse would be a fair way of describing it.
As a coach, the 52-year-old Parma native remains an enigma.
He proved himself capable of leading prestigious sides such as Lazio and Inter through boiling hot streaks of form during which his players would roll teams over like a machine.
Worryingly, he seems to struggle to arrest a slight dip in form, which soon becomes a crisis, which inevitably leads to him losing his job. The scenarios because of which he was dismissed by I Biancocelesti and I Nerazzurri were uncannily similar.
Given a shot at redemption early last summer by the Della Valle brothers who handed him the reigns to La Viola, one has to think this could be Pioli’s last chance to prove he is capable of leading one of Italy’s major clubs to success.
Though his new club’s summer transfer campaign was overshadowed by the sales of Federico Bernardeschi, Borja Valero, Matías Vecino and Nikola Kalinić, a whole raft of talented players arrived to bolster the former Bologna trainer’s squad.
The likes of Vitor Hugo, Nikola Milenković, Marco Benassi, Gil Dias and Giovanni Simeone all came to the club with impressive reputations, but it is still too early to say whether or not they will be a success at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in the long-term. Pioli certainly has the ability to develop them all as players – he is a very highly-regarded coach – but whether he can bring them together and forge a strong unit remains to be seen.
With mixed reviews thus far, pressure will soon mount on the boss to provide a more consistent run of results or one has to fear the inevitable will happen. Rightly or wrongly, Fiorentina fans expect their team to be competing among the upper-echelons of Serie A and will waste no time in venting their anger and frustration if consistent run of results is not forthcoming.
The jury is still out on Pioli, but surely the final verdict is nigh upon one of Italy’s most enigmatic coaches.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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