MILAN (Reuters) – Serie A table-proppers Palermo fired coach Alberto Malesani after only three games on Sunday and, in an extraordinary move, immediately brought back the man he replaced – Gian Piero Gasperini.
"We regret the decision considering that Alberto Malesani is an excellent person and an excellent coach," said the Sicilians in a statement after their third coaching change of the season.
"We thank him for trying. The decision seems to be the only viable one at this difficult time."
Malesani, whose previous job at Genoa last season also lasted less than one month, is the latest victim of Palermo’s famously volatile club president Maurizio Zamparini, who fires an average of two coaches a season.
Zamparini got off to a flying start this term when he dispensed with Giuseppe Sannino after only three games, saying the coach’s relationship with the team had deteriorated.
Gasperini came in but was fired after his team lost to Atalanta at the start of February even though he was not on the bench for that match, having been suspended.
Delio Rossi had a similar experience two years ago when he was fired only to be reinstated five weeks later when Serse Cosmi, his replacement, was also dismissed.
There are varying estimates as to how many coaches Zamparini has fired in his career, the numbers depending on what is considered an "interim" coach and complicated by the fact that he has sacked some coaches more than once.
Francesco Guidolin has coached Palermo four times under Zamparini although his second and third stints were separated by only two weeks after his initial sacking was "revoked".
Stefano Pioli is his shortest-lived coach at Palermo, having been fired before taking charge of a single Serie A game in August last season, although he was in charge of two Europa League qualifiers.
Sunday’s dismissal was the 11th coaching change of the season in Serie A, which has 20 clubs.
Bottom side Palermo drew 0-0 with Genoa on Saturday and have 20 points from 26 games, six adrift of safety.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Mark Meadows; email@example.com; +41 79 917 1402; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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