Angelo Alessio’s appointment as Kilmarnock boss was greeted with intrigue throughout the full Scottish football community.
His CV was not in question, having worked with elite clubs like Chelsea, Napoli, Juventus, and the Italian national team.
Connah’s Quay Nomads looked like an easy start to life for him at Rugby Park. After an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat, which dumped Killie out of Europe after an 18 year absence, people are already calling for his head.
People have been quick to slam him for the Nomads result, but where does he actually need to improve to make his Ayrshire stint a success?
Alessio is changing Kilmarnock too quickly
He clearly has his own philosophy on how he wants to play and it’s very different to what Killie played under Steve Clarke. The Italian wants expansive football whereas Clarke played counter-attacking.
This has worked excellently for Killie and shouldn’t be changed whilst the squad is still largely the same as last term. Until he brings in some of his own players, Alessio should adapt to what has worked for Kilmarnock recently.
What else has to change? One thing is backroom uncertainty. Kilmarnock will be desperate to keep Clarke’s staff at the club, as they have worked so well for the Rugby Park side.
Instead, goalkeeper coach Billy Thomson has been made U20s coach according to the Scottish Sun and they’ve also reported that head of physical performance Andy White has been placed on gardening leave.
It makes sense that Alessio wants his own staff, but he has to implement them correctly. He has to pick whether to bin previous members of staff completely or he has to adopt the methods Clarke used.
Getting the fans back on side
Expectation levels have never been higher in recent years at Rugby Park and that lumps pressure on the Italian from the get go. His Nomads disaster has quite understandably made Killie fans uneasy about life under his tenure.
He couldn’t have started any worse and some fans will be hard to get back on side. Getting a win over Rangers in the opening match would be a key step in the road to redemption.
Killie lost a lot of key players too this summer. Jordan Jones, Kris Boyd, Youssouf Mulumbu and Daniel Bachmann have all left. There have been plenty more departures and more signings are needed. Kilmarnock haven’t got a very big squad just now and only have one senior striker in Eamonn Brophy.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Alessio recovers from his Welsh horror. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him to get his Kilmarnock tenure back on track.