Ferrara’s Rocky spirit cannot hide the failures of another rookie
Under pressure Juventus boss Ciro Ferrara has come out fighting after a fourth defeat in five matches but it may not be enough for another first-time coach to save his job.
“One of my friends, one of the few I have at the moment, said to me, ‘you are like Rocky’. I am full of punches and blood but I say to my opponent, I am not hurt, punch harder because you are not hurting me,” Ferrara said in the wake of a 3-0 home defeat by AC Milan.
“There is nothing that could knock me down, my mother punched harder.”
His determination is admirable but are Juve now regretting appointing a man with no real managerial experience to replace Claudio Ranieri last May?
In recent times, Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola is possibly the only man to have succeeded in his first big club job.
Ferrara, previously much-loved in Turin as a no-nonsense defender, is in danger of following some other rookie coaches out the door.
Juergen Klinsmann and Marco van Basten had reasonable success as first-time coaches of Germany and the Netherlands, but their only important club roles at Bayern Munich and Ajax turned out to be disasters.
Alan Shearer was adored by Newcastle United fans for all his goals but when it came to trying to save the club from relegation from the Premier League, he failed miserably and went back to TV punditry.
Even AC Milan coach Leonardo had a dreadful start to his first managerial season, including a home defeat by FC Zurich in the Champions League, before a pickup in form which some critics allege is because of the weakness of Serie A rather than the quality of their play.
Managing prima donna players, dealing with unreasonble supporter expectations and fending off criticism from the media are no easy tasks. Why would someone who was a good player be naturally adept at being a coach if they only had minimal training?
Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho’s playing career ended before it had begun but after years of shadowing a maestro like Bobby Robson he has achieved great things as a manager.
Is it all proof yet again that being a top player does not make you a top manager?
PHOTO: Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara looks on before the start of the Italian Serie A soccer match against Catania in Turin, Dec 20, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo