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Genoa sack coach Gasperini

Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini became Serie A's first managerial casualty of the season proper on Monday when he was sacked by the big spenders.

"Yes, I've been fired. I didn't expect it," Gasperini told ANSA. "Naturally I'm very bitter."

Media reports said the club, who could not be reached for comment, would appoint former Lazio coach Davide Ballardini in his place.

Gasperini led Genoa to promotion in 2007 and has since presided over mid-table finishes with his unusual brand of attacking soccer with only three at the back.

His stock grew so much that he was even mentioned by media as a possible candidate for the Juventus job last season but this term has not gone to plan.

Flamboyant club owner Enrico Preziosi brought in a host of new signings in the close season, including former Italy striker Luca Toni, in a bid to secure European football and even have a crack at the fourth Champions League qualifying spot.

However, Genoa have struggled to find the net in amassing 11 points from their first 10 games of the Serie A season and lost 1-0 at Palermo on Sunday, their fourth defeat in five matches to sit in 14th place.

Ballardini was sacked by current league leaders Lazio last season when they were flailing near the bottom having previously impressed at Cagliari and Palermo.

Only one sacking after 10 games contrasts markedly with last season in Serie A where a record five coaches left their jobs inside eight games.

Bologna's Franco Colomba was dismissed a day before the start of this campaign following a disagreement with new owners.