In the world of football, managers and players can be be transformed from heroes to villains in double-quick time. Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic has played both characters, all in the space of just six months.
Last season, the Bosnian was elevated to legendary status as the only coach ever to win a capital derby final in the Coppa Italia. It was a fitting end to a decent first season in charge at Formello, with his reputation having grown out of virtual obscurity even before the 1-0 victory over Roma in the season-ending showpiece.
A quarterfinal spot had been achieved in the Europa League already, and a respectable league finish had ensured that Petkovic would remain in charge into 2013-14. The cup victory was a magnificent bonus.
The memory of football fans is notoriously short, and there is nothing more important than the present. As such, Petkovic has quickly run into trouble. The Biancocelesti started the season badly and have barely looked like getting back on track.
They remain winless on the road in Serie A and sit level with Parma in ninth spot after 14 rounds, a full 14 points short of third place. The season is nowhere near done, but already a return to the Champions League is a virtual impossibility. Even a Europa League spot looks a long way off at this point, with 10 points separating Lazio from fifth-placed Fiorentina. It will take quite a fall by the country’s best-performing clubs for Petkovic and his players to have any kind of European ambitions.
- Sports & Recreation
- Vladimir Petkovic