Arrigo Sacchi explained why Maurizio Sarri has “a much tougher job” revolutionising Juventus compared to Antonio Conte’s Inter, while Carlo Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.
The Scudetto race kicks off again today with all three big hitters in action, as Juve visit Fiorentina, Napoli host Sampdoria and Inter take on Udinese.
“The return of Sarri, Conte and Ancelotti to Serie A is good for all of Italian football and can bring it forward, as it’s been left 70 years in the past,” insisted Sacchi in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“These three Coaches all have a very different technical vision and personalities, although they do share an identical philosophy: the plan must guide the team and players improve if they follow that plot.
“Sarri and Conte are like screenwriters: they write the film and their lads act it out, free to add flourishes and unpredictability.
“Conte is less patient compared to Sarri and seeks out the vertical pass to the strikers much faster. His play is more immediate, there is less pressing and consequently his teams are more stretched out.
“For example, the Inter side that won 2-1 at Cagliari would take a step back when defending rather than being aggressive towards the opposition forwards. I don’t agree with that approach. As the saying goes, you don’t invite the funeral director to your home, so don’t invite the opposition to get close to your penalty area.
“Of course, Inter are a team who have for many years run backwards when defending, so it will take some time to change that mentality.
“I liked Inter’s character, desire, spirit of sacrifice and the eagerness to help each other out. If you have these qualities, you can go far,” continued Sacchi.
“Conte, aided by the club, did very well to eliminate those players who were not suited to the project, such as Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Radja Nainggolan. Now he is trying to instil a winning mentality in the group and pass on his incredible passion.
“Sarri’s job is considerably more difficult at Juventus. He joined a club that has won everything and now has to introduce a completely different style of football. That means first and foremost convincing the players to follow his vision and take part in the project.
“The role of the club will be fundamental, especially during the inevitable difficult moments. It was the same for me when I arrived at Milan.
“I repeat, if Juventus really do achieve this revolution in playing style, it will be enormously beneficial to all of Italian football and set the template for others.
“Conte has it easier, because Inter haven’t won anything since 2010, so he doesn’t have to convince anybody. Antonio chose players with good heads on their shoulders, like Romelu Lukaku, who are ready to help their teammates rather than insulting them for a misplaced cross. He just needs to slowly build the winning mentality.”
Where does Ancelotti – Sacchi’s former pupil at Milan – fit in to the pattern at Napoli?
“Carlo only appears to be calm on the surface, but inside his blood is boiling. I heard from him, he said great things about Hirving Lozano.
“I am convinced Napoli will amaze people, perhaps in the Champions League.”
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