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Sannino's job is to get Siena's strikers up and running

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By Suhail Seedat

Monday 26 September 2011

The rise of Giuseppe Sannino has caught the attraction of many onlookers intrigued as to how the man who never failed to make it as a footballer in the top flight, can succeed as a manager. Managing Varese from Serie C2 to the Serie B playoffs was nothing short of magnificent; his talent could not be ignored and Siena came knocking on his door.

The Tuscan club had seen their manager Antonio Conte return to the club which he felt he was destined to manage in Juventus. Conte left a side which was incredibly aggressive in their attacking approach in Serie B but also defensively well organised. Sannino’s job was to ensure the players continued playing with the same approach whilst avoiding relegation.

In the three league performances thus far, Sannino has already made an impact on his side. Despite not winning a game, the Bianconeri have impressed with their dedication, heart and energy components which Sannino continuously looks for in his players. Described more so as a psychologist rather than a Coach, Sannino was quoted as to have said during his Varese days, ‘to win, you have to be angry’ perfectly illustrating the ethos which he likes to build the team around.

An area which will give Siena a level of some serenity is their resolute defence and dedicated midfield. Losing narrowly to Juventus at home in their second game, Siena frustrated the newly constructed and talented Juventus side throughout the game, while also creating their own chances. It was a game which showed how frugal Siena can be and, despite losing, their character and dedication could not be faulted. It was a sign of Siena evolving from Conte’s time last season which was a side of reasonable defensive organisation but now it was now married with the mental attributes the current Coach feels is required for the side to remain in the division.

Goals have, however, been a problem thus far for the side. Having scored 67 last season in Serie B, which was the highest in the division, they’ve managed the solitary one which came late in the game against Roma from full back Roberto Vitiello. The creation of chances is not the problem for Siena, according to Sannino, but more so the finishing. After the game against Roma, the Coach bemoaned the team’s inability to be clinical in front of goal, lacking the composure necessary for a team to turn losses into draws and draws into wins.

Having the experience of Franco Brienza and Emanuele Calaiò, both of whom have been in relegation dogfights in their careers before, is a huge fillip compared to their rivals. As teams like Cesena had shown under Massimo Ficcadenti last season, for all their scrappy characteristics, the ball still need to be put in the net, which they managed to do so during the run-in and this was enough for them to remain in the division.

The foundations are there for Siena but Sannino has to use his psychological wizardry in getting his strikers to believe they can replicate last season’s form in order for them to retain their position in Serie A next season.

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