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Monday April 22 2019
Time for a new Conte era at Juventus

Max Allegri has taken Juventus as far as he can and it’s time to come full circle with Antonio Conte’s return, argues Anthony Barbagallo.

Juve’s lacklustre display against a youthful Ajax side was a catastrophe waiting to happen, especially the way the Bianconeri have been playing this season. An experienced and talented team, with a five-time Ballon d’Or winner up front, failed to achieve that elusive European dream. The animosity between the fans, players and Juventus management suggests that there will be a massive player overhaul, and potential coaching change, this summer.

Massimiliano Allegri may have guided the Old Lady to her eighth consecutive Scudetto against Fiorentina at the weekend, but his pragmatic playing style has failed to conquer Europe these recent years. The total domestic dominance and underwhelming Champions League performances are a sign that Allegri has taken this Juve side as far as he can. Unless the 51-year-old can adjust his tactics and utilise the team’s attacking prowess, it might be time for club President Andrea Agnelli to bring in a new conductor.

The coaching issue now raises the question, should Juventus bring Antonio Conte back? The former Chelsea boss has been out of work for an entire season now, remaining linked with some of Europe’s giants – mainly Inter keeping tabs on the 49-year-old. It’s like Conte was waiting for something chaotic to occur with his former Juventus. Was he planning to be jobless for a year, just in case Juve capitulated in the Champions League?

It was Conte who remodelled La Vecchia Signora back in the 2011-12 Serie A season. The Italian tactician managed to take a mediocre Juventus side that finished seventh in the two previous campaigns and immediately turn them into Scudetto winners – ending that nine-year silverware drought in the most emphatic way. Conte’s exceptional tactical work also saw the Bianconeri break a record for ending the entire 2011-12 Serie A season undefeated.

Then there was the 3-5-2 formation, a system that rebooted Juve’s identity on the pitch. This formation also shaped the BBC (Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini) defence, arguably the most organised defensive unit displayed in modern-day football. With a robust defence and a goalkeeper like Gianluigi Buffon adding another layer, it’s no surprise that this superior Juve side only conceded 20 goals throughout the entire 2011-12 Serie A campaign. After his first successful season in Turin, Conte followed up with two straight Scudetti in the next couple of seasons, beginning an era of Juventus dominance.

However, Conte struggled to balance European and domestic competition with his Juve side in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. In 2013, Juventus were no match for a lethal Bayern Munich outfit after the 4-0 demolition over two legs. During the 2013-14 season, the Bianconeri had a phenomenal Serie A campaign, finishing with 102 points. But for much of the dominance in the Italian campionato, the Turin side were abysmal in the group stages of the Champions League – only managing to secure a single victory against Danish side FC Copenhagen. Being eliminated by Galatasaray in the Turkish snow spoke volumes on how Juve kept playing with this frail mentality in Europe. 

Conte also struggled to demonstrate that he could balance domestic and European competition in his second season at Chelsea. He has so far shown that he can be a Serie A, English Premier League and national team specialist. The former Italy CT started Juve's Serie A domination, and it only seems right that he returns to Turin to emulate that past domestic success in Europe.

Nevertheless, Conte has always ensured his sides use passion and grinta, but most importantly, play with a 3-5-2 identity. This current Juve side needs more motivation, grit and a playing style. While the Italian champions are looking to rebuild that flawed midfield and defence, now would be an appropriate time for an available Conte to step in. 

Credit needs to be given to Allegri, who took over Conte’s foundations – helping Juventus win four Coppa Italia titles, five Scudetti and reach two Champions League finals. However, that icing on the cake has now melted. It’s time for Juve to commence a new coaching cycle.

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Have your say...
if juve cant get guadiola or Deschamps I think juve better stick with allegri. one thing about allegri he is open to change. even said that he would experiment with different players in positions since the scudetto is wrapped up. but conte was a stubborn guy that refused to listen to anyone. when pundits and fans was telling him that his 352 cant work in Europe he stubbornly refused to change. he hasn't even improved Chelsea in Europe either.if u cant get Deschamps or guadiola stick with allegri
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 4:48pm
No way!

Conte always walks out when things don't go his way. He's had no success in Europe and the National team doesn't count - he took celebrated football Nation that had made the Euro 2012 final 4 years earlier and turned them into over-achieving team purely by selecting a workman like squad and ignoring talented players and then yet again walked.

He's not the answer. Former players Zidane / Deschamps might be, Guardiola / Ancelotti are proven. BUT Allegri deserves another season at least
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 3:39pm
Giancarlo C's Mom is the worst kind amongst us. He talks smack of other fans as if he's a UCL, UEL, World Cup winner both as a player and a coach... Yet his comments reek of someone who doesn't know what reality is having lived under a rock for last 25 yrs. Allegri reached finals because of his players, not inspite of them. Get this through your thick head.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 3:37pm
Agree with most on here that while it is probably best for Allegri to move on. A second term with Conte would be a mistake. I think Conte would be better suited to getting a team like Inter back on their feet.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 3:22pm
@ Giancarlo's Mom

"Unlike 5 years ago, now Juve has all the top class players in every position."

How exactly is that? Their keeper, defence, and midfield were all better 5 years ago. The only big improvement has been in attack
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 3:02pm
I don't see the argument of why Conte should return. Record is not convincing in Europe. He would be a guaranteed win for the league but is that what Juve really need? There are other coaches. Roma with EDF played better than his Chelsea in the CL and knocked them out. The difference is that Juve is not a selling team like Roma who sold all their best players. If they get a good coach who is proactive thinking and can win in Europe they could really build something special for some time.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 2:50pm
Don't want him back he quit on us. What is going to stop him from doing it again if he does not get his way.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 2:14pm
sure to keep your mouth shut and not complaining if Juve doesn't get any trophies in their first year with Juve because of transition.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 12:04pm
Personally, i would love to see Conte back. He deserves that as he's the keyman who built Juve's foundation 8 years ago. Unlike 5 years ago, now Juve has all the top class players in every position. Juve with Conte will eventually get the CL trophy with 2-3 key signings in summer. But, if you all whiners are so fascinating with quick passing and ultra attacking football, then you should make your voice heard to Juve's board and ask for Ten Hag or Sarri or Guardiola as Juve's next coach. But make
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 12:04pm
I'm ok with Allegri being a Juve coach for another year as he'll be fully motivated next season. Unlike all whiners who blame all the faults to Allegri (they who never manage a single football team in his entire life) i tip my hat to Ajax for Juve's defeat. I won't be surprised if Ajax win CL this year. However, he knows very well his time with Juve is up this time. Fans hate him for his football approach and Agnelli knows very well business is bad if there are unhappy customers.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 12:03pm
This blog is illogical. Juve’s biggest problem is that they keep failing in Europe so why would they hire Conte whose biggest weakness is that he always failed in Europe?
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 11:58am
This seems like a bizarre point of view. The writer's basically saying Conte was an abject failure in Europe, but he's the man to bring back to take over from Allegri.

If Conte does arrive it'll prove one thing - Italian football never learns.

Roma, Inter, and potentially Milan all need Conte. He would take them up a level or 2 from what they've got.

Juve do not need Conte at all, and it shows why the game in Italy is stagnant.

And how about some foreign managers to liven things up a bit?
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 11:26am
Wow Great article Bravo bring in a coach who couldn't get out of there group stages more than once , Conte Good Coach Yes Good Motivator yes great Tactician NO
Conte was lucky he had some exceptional players at Juve Chellini Bonucci Baezagli Buffon , plus the players slowly came through, he hasn't got it ,Allegri has done an exceptional job, in key games though he has stuttered and this is where he has been caught out Mainly in UCL,Allegri needs to be more attacking and adventurous, Conte?
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 11:14am
Thanks, but NO.

Conte it's the not the solution.

The solution is to hire a non-Calcio manager - because all coaches in Italy have clearly become dinosaurs and are loving in the past.

I used to admire Spalletti and Di Francesco, but they're not built to handle a behemoth like Juventus...

I already mentioned Pochettino, he should be snapped up ASAP with a proper squad overhaul.

#FinoAllaFine
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 10:48am
I think your arguments make the exact opposite point:
1. Conte cannot balance between both domestic and European competitions
2. Juventus failed miserably in the Champions League under Conte (so much that they didn't make it past the group stage on one of those seasons)

While I understand the criticism towards Allegri, and maybe it's indeed time for a coaching change, Conte is absolutely not the answer.

For me, it has to do more with transfer strategy.
on the 22nd April, 2019 at 10:43am

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