Domenico Di Carlo: Victim or Villain of the piece at Sampdoria?

Life at Sampdoria was never going to be easy for Domenico Di Carlo. Luigi Del Neri is a hard act to follow, especially when taking into account the small squad and tight transfer budget that Di Carlo inherited. With results taking a turn for the worse of late, a group of fans published an open letter calling for Di Carlo to be sacked immediately, and this has been followed up by protests at the training ground. But are the Sampdoria fans being harsh on Di Carlo? Is he the victim of their inflated expectations, or is he simply out of his depth?
Recently, circumstances seem to have turned against the Sampdoria Coach. In Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini, Sampdoria had a front line that could lift them beyond mid-table and make them able to challenge for a Champions League place. It was a major achievement for the club to hold on to them during the summer but both players were sold during the January transfer window in deals that Di Carlo could do very little to prevent. While he is exempt from responsibility for their departures, Di Carlo can and should be held responsible for the performances of the players he has brought in to replace them. While it is much to early to judge properly, Massimo Maccarone, Federico Macheda and Jonathan Biabiany are currently yet to register a league goal between them and must improve if they are to fill the shoes of their predecessors.
Di Carlo could point to the injuries sustained by a number of key players recently as a reason for the poor run of form. Franco Semioli is set to miss the rest of the season following ankle surgery, defenders Stefano Lucchini and Daniele Gastaldello have missed chunks of the season through injury and it was revealed on Tuesday that Nicola Pozzi faces another month on the sidelines with a knee problem. However, Di Carlo is not exempt from blame in this department. While he can obviously do nothing about the spate of injuries suffered by his players, his decision not to strengthen the squad in the summer appears to have come back to haunt him.
Although injuries and transfers have played their part, a major issue cited by the fans that want Di Carlo out is a perceived lack of motivation in the squad. Club captain Angelo Palombo has continued to display his trademark fight in midfield but has lacked support all too often. The likes of Andrea Poli, Daniele Dessena and Fernando Tissone have turned in too many lacklustre performances, something that is only partly the fault of the Coach. The fans, though, are convinced that sacking Di Carlo is the only way to shock the squad into stepping up their game.
Naturally, the fans are concerned about the poor performances of their side but sacking the Coach seems to be something of a drastic move. Considering the injuries and recent departures, the rest of the season could be the time for Di Carlo to really prove his worth to the Sampdoria fans by making his mark on the team and setting them up for a better campaign next season. Essentially, Di Carlo is neither the victim nor the villain of the piece; rather he is struggling as any Coach would to cope with a turbulent few months at his club.

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