Vito Doria Date: 28th November 2013 at 2:12am
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Delio Rossi was shown the door a fortnight a go by Sampdoria and the club have turned to a familiar face in Sinisa Mihajlovic.

The 44-year-old left his job as Serbian national team coach to return to the club that he played for from 1994-98.

He commenced his stint as Samp coach on Sunday afternoon with a 1-1 draw against another club he played for in Lazio. Despite conceding an equaliser at the death, the Blucerchiati can take pride in this performance.

Although the pitch wasn’t in great shape and both teams struggled to play a fluid passing game, Doria showed that they were better at winning the ball back.

The Doriani won the interception count 19 to eight, made 29 successful tackles in comparison to the Biancocelesti’s 26 and won the aerial duals 22 to 15.

To also put the aerial duals into greater perspective, Daniele Gastaldello dominated against Lazio centre-forward Sergio Floccari, who was a largely anonymous figure during the match.

One of the major changes under Mihajlovic was the formation used against Lazio. Rossi frequently used the 3-5-2 formation throughout his stint on the Samp bench but Mihajlovic went for the 4-2-3-1.

Angelo Palombo was moved back into the midfield, Manolo Gabbiadini played on the wings and Nicola Pozzi returned to the start line-up. Those three benefitted from the changes and the same can be said for Roberto Soriano.

The Italo-German midfielder came on as a substitute and put Doria 1-0 ahead. He showed great perseverance by initially blocking a Lazio clearance, chasing the looping ball and then headed the ball in after the ball touched the crossbar.

Soriano has not been popular with Samp fans on football forums and on Facebook but Mihajlovic might give the young midfielder a chance to finally prove himself.

Speaking of players receiving criticism on social media, promising forward Andrea Petagna was made a scapegoat on his Twitter account after an error which resulted in Lazio’s equaliser.

Although the defence poorly dealt with the long-ball that eventually resulted in Lorik Cana equalising for Lazio, Petagna was blamed for his inability to hold-up the ball near the right corner flag.

Petagna apologised for his actions but something like this shows the pressure young players in Italy receive, more so than in other football nations. More often than not, fans and media alike are quick to point the blame on an inexperienced player.
On a more positive note, playmaker Enzo Maresca made his return against the Biancocelesti. After being frozen out of the Doria squad by Rossi, he replaced Palombo in stoppage time.

Sampdoria face Inter in Round 14 and although Serbian playmaker Nenad Krsticic will be unavailable due to suspension, Brazilian striker Eder will be available.

At the moment, Eder might end up playing in the centre of the attacking midfield trio in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Now that Rossi is gone, the Brazilian could be relieved of his free-kick taking duties.

Maresca and Gabbiadini are potential free-kick takers and Samp fans would be hoping that Mihajlovic picks one of them over Eder.

The former Serbian international was a great free-kick taker during his playing days. Even if he doesn’t select Maresca or Gabbiadini, he could give Eder some tips on taking free-kicks. Surely he would not want to see Eder constantly kicking the ball straight into opposition players.

Like the Doria fans, Mihajlovic would like to see the ball in the net, not in someone’s face, stomach or in sensitive body parts.

Follow Vito Doria on Twitter: @VitoCDoria

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