Relegation-threatened coach wants to follow in Manchester United legend's footsteps

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Empoli may not be a club the size of Manchester United, but Maurizio Sarri nonetheless wants to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s longevity there.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary tenure at Manchester United saw him rack up 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns in 26 years.

It’s a trophy haul that is unmatched in English football and contains countless other successes, earning the Scot his reputation as one of the all-time great managers.

Few others will ever come close to the type of success the former United boss enjoyed at Old Trafford – not to mention the longevity that is such a rarity in the modern game.

But Empoli boss Maurizio Sarri would at least like to try. The 55-year-old signed a new contract with the Serie A outfit this week until 2017.

“It is the most important contract of my career and I hope to become Empoli’s Sir Alex Ferguson,” Sarri told a press conference when asked about his new Azzurri deal.

Indeed it is the most important contract of his tenure as a coach – Sarri’s route to Serie A has been an organic one.

The Italian landed on the bench in the top flight for the first time by earning promotion from Serie B with Empoli last term, having just missed out the year before.

After 23 years spent as a coach in the lower divisions of Italian football – 15 years just to make it to Serie B – Sarri only just reached the pinnacle of the ladder.

This is his third season at the helm of Empoli. The club sit two points clear of the drop zone after 11 games – having just defeated an in-form Lazio side at the weekend.

Sarri’s side have developed a reputation for giving the big sides trouble in his short Serie A tenure, even if they’ve come up with only two wins so far and are genuine candidates for relegation.

For Sarri, the future most likely doesn’t hold glittering trophies and unprecedented success like it did for Sir Alex. However, his point is well taken when he says he’d like to emulate the Scot.

Coaches near the bottom of the Serie A table hardly ever last for long – Chievo already dismissed Eugenio Corini this season – but Sarri would like to break the mould.

The Stadio Carlo Castellani is a long way away from European evenings and blockbuster title-deciders, yet Sarri is keen to become a constant there – as Sir Alex was at Old Trafford.

Empoli have seen fit to extend his contract just months into his first Serie A adventure, so the confidence is seemingly there for the club that Sarri is the man to lead the charge forward.

Seeing Sarri kept around to build something with the Tuscan minnows would certainly be a breath of fresh air in an era in which the coaching carousel has become a commonality.

Thirteen domestic titles and a pair of European triumphs won’t be delivered short of a miracle, but something special in its own right could be underway at Empoli if Sarri is given license to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex on a smaller stage.

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