A redeemed Malesani for a renewed Genoa

A childhood spent living a rural life, Alberto Malesani has grown up understanding the value of hard work. Honest and outspoken, the ex-Bologna Coach is not ashamed of anything and willing to speak his mind whenever asked a question that demands sincerity. His values have taught him to expect the same of his players and his vast experience accumulated in different clubs has shown him great highs and some extreme lows that threatened to derail his career. However, throughout it all, Malesani has shown a distinct willingness to grow and learn from his mistakes even if he adopts a stubborn approach to tactics.
An admirer of an offensive 3-4-3 formation, he has often been accused of not finding the perfect formation for the squad at hand preferring rather to force them into playing his favoured style. At Parma, questions were raised over his defensive tactics when they conceded three goals to Perugia in 20 minutes despite boasting stars such as Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram and Gianluigi Buffon in goal in 2000. His questionable coaching methods and formations angered the players and Faustino Asprilla famously spoke out against the Coach, accusing him of destroying the Parma stars despite Malesani winning the UEFA cup with them.
Whilst inflexibility was the issue at Parma, it was Malesani’s constant chopping and changing at Panathinaikos that drew such criticism of his work provoking that infamous televised rant from the Coach. A team that was rebuilding, Malesani failed to instil some much needed stability. His intent on rotating the squad that could only boast of a few worthy players coupled with his preference of a good attitude over actual footballing skills angered the fans who called for his dismissal. Deploying a variety of formations that included 3-4-3, 3-6-1, 3-5-2 and 4-4-2 only served to create an unstable team whose performances were difficult to predict.
However, at Bologna we saw a Coach who appears to have finally learnt from his mistakes and who has put his past experiences to good use. Having arrived at his new club merely days before the start of the season, Malesani experienced a season of personal redemption. Almost immediately he sped up the tempo of the training sessions and began to take notice of the little details, often interrupting training to point out little grievances ensuring a near perfect rehearsal for the upcoming matches. This meticulous approach to training along with his open dialogue with players where he would often sit down with them for hours discussing his ideas brought about desired results on the pitch.
Considering Bologna’s tumultuous season that included a points deduction, a sacked Sporting Director, salary problems and so much more, Malesani’s ability to keep his side well above the relegation zone for much of the season is nothing short of excellent. It was not until December did Bologna even lose a home match and that was against league leaders Milan. He kept his side focused and confident by creating an oasis of calm in a club overwhelmed by negativity, drawing from his previous failed experience in charge of Hellas Verona when they were embroiled by similar problems.
However, this improved Coach now understands the value of developing a deep bond with his players. Whilst some claimed Gian Piero Gasperini’s tactics ceased to work during the end of his time at Genoa, Malesani’s football ideals represent a natural extension of Gapserini’s concepts and at his new club he will find players adept at playing his particular brand of attacking football. The fans will hope that he can maintain his promise until the end and that the team will not fade off as the season draws to a close, as previous clubs have been known to do under his guidance.

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