Gianfranco Zola said his Serie A coaching debut was "not one of the best starts" after his Cagliari side were thrashed 5-0 by Palermo, leaving them firmly in the relegation zone.

Zola, an outstanding talent in his playing days, has previously coached West Ham United and Watford in England and was assistant coach of Italy's under-21 team, but this is his first venture into Serie A.

"It's not been one of the best starts. We expected a difficult match, but not that difficult," Zola told reporters after a terrible Tuesday afternoon in Sicily.

"We'll certainly learn from today's game and work hard to improve. Of course, in a situation like this, everything seems more difficult but there is no point in crying about this, we have to react."

Cagliari found themselves 2-0 down after 10 minutes as goals by Michel Morganella and Ezequiel Munoz got Palermo off to a flying start.

Any hopes of a comeback ended when captain Daniele Conti was sent off before the half hour after picking up two needless yellow cards in eight minutes.

"We fell behind quickly, we reacted but after Conti's sending-off, the game changed again," lamented Zola.

Cagliari, who have not won any of their last nine league games, have 12 points, four adrift of Atalanta who are the lowest-placed team outside the drop zone after their 2-2 draw at Genoa.

However, the 48-year-old said he did not regret taking the plunge in Serie A at the club where he ended his playing career.

"I live in England but I've found that Cagliari has the right conditions, there are good players in the squad and the club does things the right way," he said.

Zola had two seasons at West Ham, doing better than expected in the first, when the team played some bright football, but struggling in the second.

He joined second tier Watford in July 2012 and led them to the promotion playoffs where they lost to Crystal Palace. He quit the club just over one year ago.

Source: Reuters