Novellino rewarded by Sampdoria

UC Sampdoria have handed coach Walter Novellino a new contract after a successful first season back in Serie A.

'Great reward'
"I want to thank the people who have once again believed in me," said Novellino, who has guided the team to mid-table respectability in their first season back in the Italian top flight. The coach's previous contract had been due to expire in 2005. He added: "It's a great reward for my work."

Immediate success
The 50-year-old joined Sampdoria in 2002 when the Genoa-based side were in Serie B and immediately led them to promotion. With five rounds left to play in the 2003/04 season, the Blucerchiati are eighth in Serie A with 42 points and have an outside chance of qualification for the UEFA Cup.