We’ve all been there. You know, those days at work where we’ve made a mistake so inexplicable that it’s impossible to know how to react.
Sometimes you’re able to deny culpability, passing it off as someone else’s blunder or, better still, a system error which no one could realistically be blamed for. There are other scenarios, though, where this is not the case. These situations demand that you step up to the plate and accept the problem was caused by you and you alone. It won’t always be disastrous – after all, standing up and accepting responsibility can sometimes reflect well on you. The problem comes when you’re quizzed on what you have done and realise, almost immediately, that there is no explanation in the world that won’t end up with you looking even worse.
And so to Andrea Consigli. If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s an Italian goalkeeper currently plying his trade for Sassuolo. He began his professional career at Atalanta, making 201 appearances for the Bergamo-based outfit between 2008 and 2014, before making the move to the Neroverdi. He quickly established himself as the club’s first-choice shot-stopper, playing 35 of 38 Serie A games in his debut campaign at the Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore.
For those who don’t watch Serie A week in, week out, Consigli is best known for an unfortunate incident which happened in his second season at Sassuolo. Fiorentina were their opponents at the Stadio Artemio Franchi – a tough place to go, even though Eusebio Di Francesco’s side were flying high in seventh place having flirted with the Champions League places earlier in the campaign. Fiorentina, two spots above Sassuolo in the table, were leading 2-1 as the game entered its final 10 minutes.
Right-back Claud Adjapong rolled the ball back to Consigli, who moved to quickly spread play to his left, knowing time was of the essence if he wanted to help his team rescue a point. If he wasn’t going to punt the ball as far downfield as possible, he needed to at least make himself look busy. He therefore opted to add a flourish onto what we can only assume was intended as a swept pass out to Francesco Acerbi on the left. What happened next was, well, distinctly not that.
When clips of Consigli’s blunder first emerged, unfounded allegations of match-fixing began to follow the Italian around right up until the point he broke his silence on the matter. We’re not sure these allegations were even meant vindictively – they were just a case of people trying to make sense of something with no obvious explanation. How else do you even begin to wrap your head around what happened?
Consigli’s reaction is interesting. It may look at first glance like the casual amble of a man who has concluded that his work here is done, but it’s in fact the complete opposite. By the time he makes the necessary mental calculations about the trajectory of the ball, any frenzied run will be both useless and unnatural, looking as if he’s trying too hard to overcompensate.
It’s the same with any work mistake – the person who accidentally deletes an important file won’t be considered smart enough to salvage it purely on the grounds of the original error. Once you’ve made such a grave error, the rest of the day – and perhaps the rest of the week or, if you’ve really messed up, the rest of the month – is a write-off. Making a mishap of his kind means you’ll need to apologise profusely and come in the next Monday as if you’re starting with a clean slate.
Consigli did that, initially blaming ‘overconfidence’ for the own goal, and then proceeding to concede just twice in his next five games as Sassuolo finished the season on a high and qualified for the Europa League. If that doesn’t prove that there’s hope for us all, we’re not sure what does.