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PROFILE: Watford boss Giuseppe Sannino is a head coach who can adapt. But what style will he play?
One of the most interesting things in the next few weeks will be how Giuseppe Sannino sets up his Watford team.
During his spells at lower league clubs, a period when he secured five promotions, the 56-year-old developed a reputation for creating teams who play exciting and dynamic football.
He continued that when he was appointed Siena head coach in 2011. The Serie A side were always expected to be involved in a relegation battle so he made his team harder to beat without sacrificing too much attacking flair.
He kept the recently-promoted side in Serie A and reached the Coppa Italia semi-final which enhanced Sannino’s reputation and earned him a move to Palermo.
Sannino was sacked by Palermo after just three games but bizarrely rehired later that season. However, he was unable to keep them in the league.
It has been said that Sannino’s spell at Palermo was not as bad as it initially seems due to the squad being one of the club’s worst for several years and also due to their volatile owner.
His departure in the summer resulted in a move to fellow Serie A strugglers Chievo, where he prioritised being hard to beat in a 4-4-2 formation, but he was replaced after one win in 12 games.
Sannino, who had a long career in the Italian lower leagues, has had 13 clubs during his 17-year coaching career but that is not unusual in Italy.
He has won promotion five times. He guided FC Sudtriol to Serie C2 in 2000 and then seven years later he led Lecco to Serie C1 in the first of four consecutive promotions.
Pergocrema was his next stop after his two years at Lecco and he took them to Serie C1 in his first season before joining Varese, where he had the most success.
He secured back-to-back promotions from Serie C2 (now Lega Pro Seconda Divisione) to Serie B with Varese and he almost made it three on the bounce as he lost in the play-offs for a place in Serie A.
Whilst the free-flowing Varese didn’t make it to the Italian top flight, Sannino did as he was appointed manager of Siena.
His teams often use zonal pressing and he is demanding on his team tactically. He was described by one Italian journalist as being a ‘football nerd’ although it was suggested that Sannino can sometimes concern himself with the opposition too much.
It is said that Sannino’s teams ‘always fight’ and he tries to develop a togetherness among the squad.
Formation wise, he used to play 3-5-2 regularly at Varese and Siena, with impressive results from an attacking perspective, and he has used a number of systems including 4-3-3 and particularly 4-4-2 when in charge of strugglers Palermo and Chievo.
So it will be interesting to see whether he tries to utilise Watford’s attacking players in a 3-5-2 or 4-3-3 system or whether he attempts to end their nine-match winless run by being more compact in a 4-4-2 formation.
Click here to read a comment piece by deputy group sports editor Frank Smith on Sannino's appointment.
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