December 6, 2017 / 4:53 PM / in 10 months

Soccer - Escape artist Nicola resigns as Crotone coach

MILAN (Reuters) - Crotone coach Davide Nicola resigned on Wednesday, six months after leading one of the greatest escapes in Serie A history which he celebrated by cycling the length of Italy.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus vs Crotone - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - November 26, 2017 Crotone coach Davide Nicola REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Nicola, 44, and three of his coaching staff quit the club two days after a 3-0 Serie A home defeat by Udinese.

“The club thanks the coach and his staff for their work and wishes them the best of luck on a professional and personal level,” a Crotone statement said on Wednesday. The club made their top-flight debut last season and looked certainties for relegation back to Serie B as they took a measly 14 points from their first 29 games. However, the team from the southern region of Calabria turned the tables by winning six and drawing two of their last nine matches to finish on 34 points, completing their escape with a 3-1 win over Lazio on the final day of the campaign.

Nicola had earlier said he would cycle to his home town of Turin if Crotone survived and fulfilled his promise one month later by completing the 1,300 km journey in nine days.

But Crotone have struggled again this term, taking 12 points from their first 15 games to leave them 16th in the table.

Crotone are the seventh Serie A team to change coach this season after Cagliari, Benevento, Genoa, Udinese, Sassuolo and AC Milan.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris

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