Sinisa Mihajlovic needs to identify his limitations as a tactician and top level coach after he was sacked from his role as Torino coach.
The Granata had won just two of their last 10 Serie A matches under the guidance of the 48-year-old but the 2-0 defeat to Juventus in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals was the last straw for Toro president Urbano Cairo.
Multiple sackings are not an uncommon for tacticians in Italian football and Mihajlovic has certainly experienced more than his fair share in less than a decade as a senior coach.
Bologna, Fiorentina, AC Milan, and now Torino have sacked him and failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup also ended with a dismissal when he coached Serbia – he’s just not a winner.
He left his job as Serbian coach when former club Sampdoria provided him with a lifeline and he replaced Delio Rossi in November 2013. He had steered the club from relegation by the end of the 2013-14 campaign and in the next season the Doriani qualified for the Europa League play-offs.
Although the Blucerchiati were permitted because Genoa lacked a UEFA license, the Serbian coach had them in the Champions League spots before the Christmas break, but their form declined due to the sale of striker Manolo Gabbiadini to Napoli in January 2015 and he had to try to accommodate Cameroonian star Samuel Eto’o into his team to please Samp president Massimo Ferrero.
Despite his troubles working with Eto’o, Mihajlovic was able to work with patience and space at Sampdoria but he always tried to aim higher. He moved to Milan in the summer 2015 but the Rossoneri failed to qualify for Europe and he was replaced by youth team coach Cristian Brocchi weeks before the season concluded.
After he was sacked by Il Diavolo, he replaced Giampiero Ventura at the start of the 2016-17 season and Torino finished 10 points away from a Europa League spot. They scored 71 goals but conceded 66 times and the superb form of Andrea Belotti was one of the very few positives to take from that season as he scored 26 times in Serie A.
Most of Mihajlovic’s teams have been hard-working and they are usually solid in defence but his Granata sides have been the opposite of that. Shouting at players can only get you so far and his players have often lacked consistency.
Aside from his fiery character, he added very little to his teams when it came to developing a style of play and they were often predictable going forward. Being a motivator is not enough in Serie A these days, especially with coaches like Maurizio Sarri, Marco Giampaolo, and Gian Piero Gasperini whose teams are well-drilled in their possession play.
Former Watford and Inter tactician Walter Mazzarri has replaced Mihajlovic at Torino and the Granata registered a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Bologna on Saturday.The result at the moment might look like a case of Mazzarri experiencing a honeymoon period but he has a superior coaching record than his predecessor.
At Reggina they survived relegation despite an 11-point penalty; he qualified for Europe with Sampdoria, Napoli, and Inter; and he got the Blucerchiati and Partenopei into the Coppa Italia Final, winning the cup in 2012 with the Neapolitans.
The Granata players should know what they are getting with Mazzarri. They will line-up in a back three formation, defend deep, and score goals predominantly by counter-attacking.
Mihajlovic aimed high but his coaching career is continually falling. Some coaches have the ability to coach the world’s biggest clubs while others don’t and now he has been sacked from a club that arguably has a good enough squad for the Europa League.
After being sacked by Torino, perhaps it is time for the 48-year-old to assess his flaws as a coach and not chase unrealistic goals.