A few reasons I think. For one, we still have poor finishing. Stellone is solid but needs a good finisher up there with him. Di Michele didn't really solve anything. He bagged a few goals, but he missed a couple of sitters which could have changed some games we were in (home to Empoli, that one where both he and Rosina went for the ball in front of an open goal and a few others). Part of it was bad luck, I can think of a few instances where the woodwork denied us the winning goal (home to Parma, in the derby). Novellino is a crappy coach, I'm glad we got rid of him when we did. I'm on the fence about De Biasi, I'd like Cairo to give him a little more support than he has shown, I feel that most of De Biasi's problems here have come from Cairo. Add to all that some underperformances from players like Rosina and you have our reasons for struggling this season.
For next season we need to:
-Put all our confidence into the coach we choose, whether it is De Biasi or someone else.
-Get a real finisher.
-Not buy into hype. The last two seasons we have been hyped to some extent (UEFA Cup sport, etc.) but have failed to live up. I'm not a fan of lowered expectations, but it seems that gaining a UEFA Cup spot immediately after being 'reborn' and coming up was a lofty goal and that thinking about that goal this season might have affected the players a bit. Overall, we put in respectable performances against the bigger teams. There were some (expected) defeats, but some good performances. Against the smaller teams we were overconfident and suffered lots of losses and draws that we probably shouldn't have. Unless we have a great mercato, we should shoot for a comfortable midtable position next season and if we're lucky we can sneak into Europe, but lets keep it realistic. There are lots more teams than just us with good projects going on such as Napoli and Genoa. Add to that Samp, Lazio, Palermo and Udinese plus one of the five CL spot contenders and competition for a UEFA Cup spot will be awfully tight.