On Tuesday bottom club Livorno dispensed with Coach Sergio Cosmi and reinstated his predecessor Gennaro Ruotolo. With the simple words of “I believe in safety!” Ruotolo will take on the near impossible task of keeping Livorno in the division – a team eight points from safety. President Aldo Spinelli has had a stormy relationship with Sergio Cosmi that resulted in the latter quitting over an argument earlier this season, but he was quickly reinstated after it was resolved. However, with no wins since January, Livorno’s failure to beat Genoa last week earned Cosmi has long-awaited marching orders.
Gennaro Ruotolo is no stranger to Livorno, having had two stints at the club as a player. The next time he returned to the Stadio Armando Picchi it was as a caretaker manager before being appointed on an interim basis to replace Leonardo Acori in May 2009. He managed to drag Livorno into Serie A through playoffs and was offered the job of Coach permanently. However, his lack of coaching badges saw him stripped of this honour soon afterwards. After leaving the club in October he was suddenly back in January as under-19 coach before being offered the full time job again on Tuesday, a 60-day derogation from the IFF allowing this without his coaching badges.
Ruotolo has attempted to rally his troops by saying “I want to bring my players confidence, desire and also a smile to their faces. I know, I know, the situation is dramatic, but if we are afraid then we’ve already lost the battle.” This attitude could go some way to reversing Livorno’s fortunes as the next six games see them face Udinese at home, Chievo away and Catania at home before May brings a tough run in of Sampdoria away, Lazio at home and Parma away. A huge change in mental belief will be integral to the survival of the Tuscan club and a game to game attitude could give them slender hope.
Livorno’s next game sees them face an Udinese side fresh from a demolition of Juventus by three goals to nil. They boast the leagues top scorer in Antonio Di Natale (22 goals) and need the points to get themselves clear of relegation as they sit only four points above the drop zone. Ruotolo will have to work quickly as this is the key game in Livorno’s season and they will need to forget about being the leagues lowest scorers and the fact they have not won in thirteen. A win against Udinese would pull the away side closer to relegation and give Livorno some hope.
Should Livorno beat Udinese then they offer themselves a slim chance of survival. Should Udinese win it will look almost over for the Amaranto as the up coming games only look harder with May seeing them face three tough teams, two of which are away and all have a lot to play for. One thing in Livorno’s favour is that should they return to Serie B, they have the right man for the job to start planning their return.