I dont think it has too much to do with being the 2nd Italian team, either. Last year at GPF they were almost beaten in the FD by the 2nd Canadian team, and at NHK they were beaten by the 3rd Canadian team and 2 couples straight from juniors. So I dont think that was protocol judging.
I agree with the poster who said they are just not progressing technically with this coach - for whatever reason. Didnt P/B say Zhulin taught them a lot more about technique than they ever got from their french coaches. And I think that's true - their skating really improved very noticeably with their new coach.
I'm hoping that C/L will find a coach who's a good match to them soon.