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Dec 28, 2012
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An unbelievable season of great success!!!

Financial status start of the season: Insecure
Financial status end of the season: Secure

The newly-promoted Sampdoria appointed an inexperienced Harry Pal as their new manager. The primary target is to stay in the league. The club is financially struggling and in an insecure position, so it was my job to build some kind of success, but I realized straightaway that this Sampdoria squad can achieve something more than just avoiding relegation because of the number of quality players in the squad.When you have players like Andrea Poli, Angelo Palomobo, Maxi Lopez (on loan), Pedro Obiang, Romero (GK), Estigarribia (on loan), you should aim for at least a top 10 finish, so avoiding relegation was never my primary target, I certainly aimed for a top 10 finish maybe just better.

Preseason Friendlies

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Our preseason went really well with my narrow formation working well and winning all games. I decided to use a narrow formation to make the most out of the number of center midfielders in the squad.
The fixtures didn't do any favors for us as we had to face Roma, Juventus, Milan and Napoli in the very first 3 weeks. But, we did really well against these giants as we managed to pick points against Roma, Milan and Napoli, but lost to Juventus. Our first win was against Atalanta, a 3-2 win at home after two draws and one lose.


Nothing really. The club offered me almost nothing to spend, but I managed to get Alessio Sestu (Winger) ON LOAN from Siena until the end of the season.
In January, I signed Nicolas Anelka on a free transfer from Juventus. Anelka was at Juvnetus reserve team when I signed him.


For the Atalanta game, I changed my tactics. I was concerned about the number of chances we create and our vulnerability at the back, so I scrapped the narrow formation for a more defensive one, 4-2-1-2-1 with 2 defensive minded players sitting in front of the back 4, with one being a deep lying playmaker and the other obviously the defensive midfielder. Then my key man the central midfielder (Andrea Poli) with full creative freedom. The lone striker up front will get services from the two attacking wingers.

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Sampdoria 2-0 Genoa
AC Milan 2-3 Sampdoria
Sampdoria 4-0 Roma
Sampdoria 1-0 Inter
Fiorentina 0-1 Sampdoria
Sampdoria 4-1 Palermo


  1. Survived a very difficult start
  2. New tactics 4-2-1-2-1 spot on
  3. A dramatic last minute win at Bologna after some poor results
  5. 19-year-old striker Mauro Icardi scored 10 goals in the last 10 CRUCIAL games, so delighted to give him chance
  6. We had ON LOAN striker Maxi Lopez, was playing well and scoring goals, but I wanted to give our young striker Icardi the chance and wanted to make him our main man up front, becuase I realized the fact that we have no chance to retain the services of Maxi Lopez come the end of the season, so playing Icardi regularly will give him experience and improve his skills. It didn't work well at first as he struggled to score, but the team continued to win, so I kept him there and he showed his class in the last 10 games.
  7. Estigarribia's wonder goal against Milan
  8. Played friendlies against league's top teams during International breaks
  9. Fans player of the season - Daniele Gastaldello
  10. Fair play award - Pedro Obiang


Although we were winning most of our games, winning the title was never in my mind, in fact I never looked at the league table, all I cared about was to get points from each and every games, but after our lose against Inter in April, I looked at our position and remaining fixtures and thought we have a great chance to finish in the top 5 or top 3, but not the title. Our remaining 7 games were against winnable opponents, most of them from the bottom half of the table, it was this 7 games winning streak, which eventually helped us winning the title and Mauro Icardi's sensational form in front of the goal scoring 10 goals in 10 games made that happen, which includes a memorable hat-trick in the very last game at home against Palermo, we had to win this game to win the title and we won it 4-1.


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P.S.: We also had a fantastic cup run as we reached the final, but lost unfortunately to Inter Milan on penalties. We avoided all the big teams on our way to the final, but it wasn't easy at all. In 2nd round the game against Spezia went all the way to penalties and we won it 13-12!!! And we were 2-0 down at Udinese in the next round, but a slight change in tactics helped us make it 2-2 and take the game to extra time and then to penalties, which we won 3-2. Then we beat Palermo 2-0 to reach the semi and in the semi final, we outplayed an inform Parma 4-0 on aggregate.​
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