By Joshua Richards
FORMER Italy international Fabio Liverani yesterday became the fourth man in three months to pick the Leyton Orient team.
But the 38-year-old is confident Brisbane Road’s managerial merry-go-round is set to stop spinning now he has come to the fair.
After long-term incumbent Russell Slade left for Cardiff City in acrimonious circumstances at the end of September, his former assistant Kevin Nugent and Orient’s apparent jack of all trades Mauro Milanese failed to inspire an immediate upward spike in results.
It led to Italian billionaire owner Francesco Becchetti appointing Liverani as boss on a two-and-a-half year deal earlier this week, with Milanese returning to the sporting director role he originally assumed in the summer.
On Thursday, however, he acted as interpreter for his former Perugia teammate Liverani, who insisted his decision to unpack his suitcase and lay roots in east London was not an act of naivety.
“The challenge is very good and I’m enthusiastic,” said Liverani, whose only previous managerial experience was a six-game stint at Genoa.
“The project is not short-term, it’s long-term. Every gaffer needs time, I’ve got a long contract, so I have the chance to
try to play well and get points to climb the table this season, but also to program the players for the future.
“The situation isn’t good, but I will try to do my job to transform things for the Leyton Orient supporters.
“Realistically, to be successful this season is to chase down the teams in front of us and climb the table as quickly as possible, to keep away from the bottom four. The target is maximum points for every one and we’ll see our situation. The next six games we will see where we are and what we can achieve for the duration of the season.”
The Orient hierarchy insist the plan since Slade’s departure has always been to identify a “good coach for the long-term” with Nugent, then Milanese, only ever acting as “bridges”.
Liverani and Becchetti first spoke two weeks ago and since then the new boss has used Wyscout – a painstakingly detailed database, used by clubs all over the world – to learn as much as possible about his players as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals he is set to come up against in League One.
And while Liverani accepts he cannot transform Orient’s fortunes overnight, he hopes some subtle changes will see them start to resemble the side that reached the League One play-off final once again.
“For a group that was so close at Wembley last year, it is impossible that they are in this situation,” added Liverani, who, in 2001, became the first black man to play for Italy.
“So I’m confident we will climb the table and that this group is stronger than they are showing now. With work and attitude, we can make progress.
“The system they have played in the last four years is the base, because to try and change everything is not easy with little time.
“At the moment, what I want to do is play with the same system but make the players play to their best. If different teams play 4-4-2, not every 4-4-2 system is the same as the next, so it will be about talking to the players about little changes to their existing roles, not a complete change of system.
“At the moment I’m learning about football, about the pitch, about the situations I’m preparing for in training. But I can see the players concentrate, they want to do well, and the most important thing is a good start.”