Are Siena destined for the drop?
On a run of seven straight losses in all competitions and sitting rock bottom of Serie A, eight points adrift of seventeenth placed Cagliari and relative safety; it is safe to say it has not been a season to remember so far for Siena fans.
After Guiseppe Sannino had guided the team to a respectable fourteenth place last season hopes lingered that perhaps Siena could begin the process of stabilising as a Serie A outfit. However as Giorgio Perinetti, former Siena Director of Football, headed south to Palermo last summer, he lured Sannino with him and a new manager would have to build upon these foundations.
The Siena boardroom turned to Serse Cosmi, out of work after failing to keep Lecce in the top flight last campaign, the fiery Cosmi was only to last until week 17 and a heavy 4-1 defeat to Fiorentina in the Tuscan derby would be his last game in charge.
Poor old Serse was lumbered with an inherited penalty of six points and without this handicap he would have had Siena sitting in a lofty fourteenth position. But nothing tickles a boardroom’s itchy trigger finger like the threat of relegation and Cosmi was staring down the barrel of the gun.
The sacking, deemed harsh on the 54-year-old, which seems an accurate assessment, however the Bianconeri were bottom of the league for a reason and the club was only heading in one direction. Serie A status was too much to gamble with after some very performances had seen Siena languishing.
The baseball cap remained on the Siena touchline but the man underneath had changed, this time carving out the lonesome figure of Giuseppe Iachini, the man who had been robbed of coaching Sampdoria in the top tier after steering the side to promotion in Serie B.
Iachini was revealed to the media and promised the Siena fans, “to work with enthusiasm to achieve the goal of staying in Serie A.” How long this enthusiasm lasted however when the incumbent manager was shown his first two fixtures were to include Napoli and a trip to Milan is something that you could certainly question.
Normally on appointment of a new manager, the results of the club naturally improve as the players all show a little more in training, as a clean slate means players who were left on the backburner could now force their way into the first team picture. This has not been the case for Siena who have lost the first four games Iachini’s reign, including a defeat Lazio which saw them exit the Coppa Italia.
Fundamentally the problem lies in the quality within the squad and this winter mercato is Iachini’s last throw of the dice to bring in that extra bit of talent, that come the final matches of the season, may have that extra special something to just drag Siena to safety.
The problem for Siena, with one of the smaller budgets in the league, is to attract players to a club that looks destined for the drop. Unlike other sides around Europe who are facing relegation and continue to spend recklessly in order to survive, Siena do not have the financial clout to bankroll deals for stars only motivated by money and spotting a bargain will be key.
With a two weeks remaining in the transfer window, Siena have already completed a few deals. Sent packing from the Artemio Franchi were Campagnolo, Calaio and Ribair Rodriguez to Cesena, Napoli and Belgrano respectively as Francesco Della Rocca and Nicola Pozzi to two players who have been brought in. The later finalising his laon deal from Sampdoria till the end of the season.
Upon arrival Della Rocca sat down for an interview with the clubs official website and talked off the good team spirit that greeted him despite their current struggles. “The group is united”, Della Rocca said, “we still believe we can survive”.
Good team spirit will be key if Siena are to drag themselves from their sorry position and hopefully for fans of the Bianconeri, this could result in more determined performances and greater communication on the pitch.
“We need it” was Della Rocca’s response to how important a win was from the upcoming encounter with Sampdoria and perhaps this grit will also help turn Siena into a tricky place to go for travelling teams. Iachini must capitalise on this spirit that Della Rocca talks of and must ready his team to pounce on teams who even slightly underestimate his struggling side.
Fresh faces can boost the motivation of the side and the sigining of Pozzi looks to be a very astute signing and if the former Empoli man can find the net on a regular basis he will a fill a vital role in this side.
Siena have conceded the least goals of the bottom five clubs in the league but have only managed to notch up eighteen goals with Reginaldo proving the most prolific with three goals in eleven appearances this season.
February looks to be a make or break month for Siena, whose fixture list does not get any easier. Lazio and Inter will make the trip to Tuscany whilst Siena themselves must travel to Juventus to round out the month.
The next four weeks will go a long way to deciding the fate of Siena’s season and it is a month is which they will be tested to the full.