B/R Football Ranks: Grading the New Managers on Their Work so Far

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MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty ImagesOne thing we’re never short of in football is fresh starts.With the stakes sky-high and the sums of money involved astronomical, patience is not a virtue we see exercised frequently when it comes to managers—particularly at the top level, where success is demanded, not simply appreciated.The summer of 2019 saw a series of top clubs from Europe’s top five leagues seek fresh impetus in the form of a new management team, and with the campaign now in full swing, we’re in a position to analyse their early work. Each manager has been graded and then ranked according to those figures.Assistance from experts across the continent has been sought in some places.10. Marco Giampaolo, AC MilanAlessandro Sabattini/Getty ImagesWhen it comes to AC Milan, you have to work hard to cut through the high drama and hysteria that cloaks every development at the club. But no matter what you try, it’s impossible to paint what’s happened under Marco Giampaolo so far in a positive light.The first game brought a 1-0 loss to Udinese without a shot on target, featuring one of the strangest lineups you’ll ever see: a No. 10 in a deep-lying midfield role, a winger in the centre and another winger up front.After that debacle, the formation was changed, from 4-3-1-2 to 4-3-2-1, which was enough to squeak 1-0 wins over newly promoted Brescia and Hellas Verona, but Saturday’s Milan derby showed just how far off the pace they are.They used three different shapes against Inter Milan, each as unsuccessful as the next when it came to controlling proceedings and creating chances. The 2-0 loss flattered them; three or four would have been more appropriate, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank that it didn’t get to that stage.Giampaolo’s strengths have always been in the tactical department, with charisma taking a back seat as a result, but right now he’s flunking in both.Grade: D-9. Eusebio Di Francesco, SampdoriaPaolo Rattini/Getty ImagesThings aren’t so rosy at Giampaolo’s old club, either.Sampdoria opened their Serie A season with three straight losses, pinning themselves to the bottom of the table in the process, and only alleviated concerns with a win this weekend.New manager Di Francesco, who coached Roma to that incredible comeback victory over Barcelona in 2018, was criticised in the capital as the playing style he coached slowly degraded…and it looks as though he’s picked up where he left off in Genoa.A Samp side that played some coherent, easy-on-the-eye stuff last season en route to a ninth-placed finish is now stuck in first gear. They’re not enjoying much possession (average of 41.2 percent per game, second-lowest in Serie A) have only scored two goals (joint-lowest tally) and conceded nine (joint-second most).Ugly on the stats sheet, ugly on the eye.Grade: D8. Sylvinho, Lyon JEFF PACHOUD/Getty ImagesLyon opened the season with 3-0 and 6-0 wins, prompting early hopes they might be capable of cha

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