Below expectations – three struggling sides across Europe

The new season is well and truly under way across the continent and the leagues starting to take shape.

Here we take a look at three sides who are majorly underperforming in their respective leagues leaving their managers and players under pressure.

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We start in Italy where AC Milan have had an awful start to the new Serie A campaign.

The seven-time European champions narrowly missed out on a Champions League place last season finishing one point behind local rivals Inter Milan.

Despite the respectable fifth placed finish, missing out on the top four was seen as a failure which resulted in the immediate departure of head coach Gennaro Gattuso.

The former legendary Milan midfielder may be getting a recall in the near future though as things have got much worse since he left.

The club was expelled from the Europa League for breaking financial fair play regulations and the side have only won two of their first six league games, losing the other four.

Marco Giampaolo was the man charged with returning the Italian giants to their perch after three fairly successful seasons with Sampdoria.

The 52-year-old Swiss manager guided the Genoa based club to mid table security in each of his campaigns, including a ninth placed finish last season, the highest they have achieved since 2014-15.

Things have not worked out so far at the San Siro however, with defeats to Udinese, Fiorentina and Torino being compounded by a compressive 2-0 loss in the Milan Derby.

Their latest defeat means the Rossoneri have made their worst start to a season in 81 years.

Fan favourite Andriy Shevchenko has already been sounded out as a potential replacement according to some reports.

The 43-year-old was prolific in his first spell at the club from 1999-2006 before returning on loan for a year after a disappointing spell at Chelsea in 2008.

The Ukrainian is currently in charge of his national side, but with the European championships next summer and them topping their respective qualifying group, it may take a very good offer to prize him away.

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Everton spent heavily in the summer in an attempt to have a real go at breaking into the top six that have dominated English football for several years now.

Good things were expected of Marco Silva’s men after the Merseyside club invested in big names such as Andre Gomes, Moise Kean and Fabian Delph.

It has not worked out as expected so far this season though, as only two wins from their first seven matches sees the Goodison Park side lie in 15th position.

With the disappointing early form of top six regulars, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, fans would have been expecting their side to be piling on the pressure as West Ham and particularly Leicester City are doing.

With the frailties on show by the aforementioned sides clear to see, this season may be the best opportunity to secure European football that the Toffees get for years to come.

Fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the manager as they have afforded the former Watford boss time to settle after a disappointing spell in his first season in charge.

It appeared he had turned things around towards the end of last season, especially after the derby defeat to Liverpool after which they kicked on and really turned Goodison Park into a fortress again.

That reputation has crumbled in the early stages of the new season though, as defeats to Sheffield United and Manchester City have brought them back down to earth.

Silva’s side have gone five games without keeping a clean sheet in the league, whilst their new marquee signing from Juventus, Moise Kean, is yet to find the back of the net.

Things will have to turn around quickly if the Portuguese man wants to keep his job as Marcel Brands, the Director of Football at Everton, and the club’s supporters demand more than what they are seeing at the moment.

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Turkish giants Besiktas find themselves in the relegation zone after just one win and two draws from their opening six fixtures.

The Super League champions, as recently as 2017, have got off to a terrible start, losing 4-1 to rivals Trabzonspor in their most recent match.

Despite having former Premier League players within their ranks such as Loris Karius, Mohammed Elneny and Jeremain Lens, the Istanbul side are massively underperforming.

They have struggled in Europe as well as domestically, losing 4-2 in their opening Europa League group stage game against Slovan Bratislava.

The head coach, Abdullah Avci only arrived in the summer from Istanbul Basaksehir, the new powerhouse name in Turkish football.

Many expected big things from the former national team coach after guiding Basaksehir to 2nd place last season, running eventual winners Galatasaray very close.

It doesn’t look like things will get much easier for Besiktas in the near future with fixtures against early pace setters, Alanyaspor and current Champions and city rivals Galatasaray coming up in October.

Combine that with the visit of a very good Wolves side in the Europa League and the bleakness lurking over the Vodafone Park could yet become darker.

Besiktas have not always been known for giving their managers time to turn things around but Avci’s reputation in his native land may afford him a few extra weeks to improve results.

He will have to do it quickly though if he wants to see out the project at his new club.

The Author

George Cannon

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