This season, Serie A high-flyers Bologna have been the beneficiaries of the brilliance of coach, Thiago Motta.

Motta has long been lauded for his leadership abilities, technical flair, and tactical intelligence. As a player, he was an integral part of Jose Mourinho‘s 2010 treble-winning team.

After his playing career came to an end, the former Italian international wasted little time getting into management. In May 2018, he became coach of the U-19 team of Paris Saint-Germain. Nevertheless, he would only remain in the post for a total of 17 months. This, before taking a senior head coach position at Genoa.

Eventually, his tenure was brief as the club chose to release him after just 10 matches. During his three months in command, he managed to rack up a record of five losses. This was made worse with just two wins and three draws. But when the 2021-22 season rolled along 18 months later, he was back on the bench, this time at Spezia.

In addition to being January’s Serie A Manager of the Month, he led the team back to safety. But regardless of the accomplishments, the news of the Italian side’s amicable separation from the former midfielder at the end of the previous campaign stunned many.

Thiago Motta is making a name for himself as coach at Bologna

A few months down the road, Motta made a triumphant return in September 2022. Bologna nominated him to succeed the late Sinisa Mihajlovic. He struggled to establish a rhythm with the Rossoblu, losing his first four games in charge.

Quickly enough, he managed to overcome a slow start to his tenure. He did so by leading the squad to victories in five of their subsequent six games. Despite worrying about relegation at the beginning of the season, Bologna managed to finish the season in ninth place in Serie A.

After assuming the management role last year, the 41-year-old has guided the Red and Blues to unprecedented success. Additionally, they have maintained their form from the beginning of the season. After their victory against Torino this Monday, the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara side climbed to sixth place.

The squad has been so good this year that they are now a serious contender for a UEFA Europa Conference League spot. Only in the season opener did they lose to one of the other top five ranked teams, and it was to AC Milan, 2-0.

So far this season, Bologna have taken two points from their three matches against Juventus, Napoli, and Inter. They have a December match against fifth-place Roma to look forward to.

But up to their match against Fiorentina on November 12, they had not lost a game since their opening weekend match against the Rossoneri. They hadn’t seen such a streak of 11 Serie A games since the 1979-80 season.

Roberto De Zerbi was equally as impressive when he was named coach of Sassuolo
Roberto De Zerbi was equally as impressive when he was named coach of Sassuolo

Roberto De Zerbi was equally as impressive when he was named coach of Sassuolo

Comparisons to Roberto De Zerbi are present

Having a clear possession-based approach and a solid defensive foundation has proven vital for Bologna this term. On the field for Bologna, owned by Canadian Joey Saputo, Motta is displaying a very dynamic, technical style of soccer.

Many were captivated by the 41-year-old’s transformation of the club’s style of play into one that was both aggressive and flowing. As a result, much anticipation surrounds the former Inter, PSG, and Barcelona player as a potential future great among elite-level coaches.

Some have even begun to draw parallels to Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi. While De Zerbi was at the helm of Sassuolo, the team reached new heights and he attracted interest from elite clubs. The good thing that came out of it was his foray into the Premier League, a league known for its intense competition.

In the summer of 2018, Roberto De Zerbi became the manager of Sassuolo, taking over a side that had shown signs of promise in Serie A. Quickly imposing his vision on the squad, De Zerbi became famous for his offensive philosophy and tactical skill.

The Black and Greens became an unstoppable force in Italian soccer once he took over as coach, and they were especially a top threat to the big clubs. A possession-based game, rapid transitions, and an expansive attacking style were the cornerstones of the manager’s tactical philosophy.

Sassuolo impressed with their aesthetically pleasing soccer, which led to both victories for the team and high praises for the now 44-year-old boss. The fact that the squad was able to climb the Serie A standings to a record eight position under De Zerbi’s tutelage is evidence of it.

Photo credits: IMAGO / LaPresse : IMAGO / IPA Sport