Montella's Roma reign begins with Bologna visit
Roma turned to Vincenzo Montella on Monday in a bid to rescue their unravelling season and he begins his reign with a trip to Bologna on Wednesday.
Claudio Ranieri chose to fall on his sword following a fourth consecutive defeat on Sunday, and one which rubbed salt into raw wounds. As if the three previous losses were not bad enough, the 4-3 defeat at Genoa came despite Roma having led 3-0.
Ranieri, a Roman and boyhood Roma fan, said he hoped the change would help spur on the team who have already seen their Scudetto hopes go up in smoke this month and are at risk of also crashing out of the UEFA Champions League following their 3-2 home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.
What they cannot afford, with a new owner due to take over soon, is to miss out on next season's Champions League and it is thus vital they finish in the top four. But they currently sit nine points behind those crucial places and to make matters worse it is bitter city rivals Lazio occupying the final qualification position.
Their only saving grace is having played a game less than their rivals as the match against Bologna had previously been postponed due to the weather. And so the baton has passed to former striking favourite Montella to try to rescue the team.
"Now we're all working together, the decisions will be mine because if I mess up then so too will the responsibility be mine," said the new boss, who has stepped up from coaching one of the club's youth teams. "I will listen to everyone but I have my role and I must make the decisions."
It is not the first time that a youth coach has taken over from Ranieri and Montella will be hoping to do better than Ciro Ferrara did with Juventus. Ranieri was fired two games before the end of the 2008/09 season by Juve with the side sitting third in the league and having guided them to a third place finish the previous season, their first back in Serie A following the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
Although Juve won their last two matches to finish the season second, they had a disastrous campaign the next time around and Ferrara was fired in January. Juve ended that season seventh and have not looked likely to improve on that this season either. They are already on their third coach since Ranieri and Montella will be hoping that he can succeed at Roma where Ferrara failed at Juve.