Saturday September 19 2020
What to expect from Pirlo's Juventus

Everyone knows how Andrea Pirlo played his football, but how will he set out his Juventus team? Elio Salerno looks at the tactical approach and return to 3-5-2 roots.

Andrea Pirlo’s name is already etched into the history books of Juventus. A protagonist in the Bianconeri’s rise back to the top at the beginning of the last decade, Pirlo was the early inspiration behind what would become an era of total dominance in Serie A.

Now nine years after his initial move to Turin, Il Maestro is back, but this time in his first managerial role and he will be hoping to continue the winning cycle he sparked as player back in 2011.  When Pirlo arrived from Milan that summer, his reputation as a top tier midfielder preceded him, but on this occasion his ability as a tactician remains completely unknown.

The shock of his appointment as Juventus coach after the dismissal of Maurizio Sarri has been well documented. Chief football officer Fabio Paratici was naturally quick to hype up Pirlo’s potential on the side-line, confidently declaring “he was destined for greatness as a player and we strongly believe he is as a coach.”

A coaching novice, Pirlo now finds himself thrust into one of the biggest jobs in world football. Despite declaring after his retirement just a few years ago that he was not attracted to management, he is in a unique position for a first-time coach who has only recently completed the required exams.

Andrea’s opportunity to develop his craft as the Juventus Under-23 coach was quashed, his coaching journey has skipped a few steps, but Pirlo is – as we have come to expect – unfazed, composed and believes this is the right time for him. So what can we expect from Mister Pirlo?

The former Italy international has had little time in the build-up to the new campaign, adding to the complexity of the situation. However, the World Cup winner has spoken openly about how he wants his Juventus to play and the football he believes is capable of bringing success.

Dynamic football, players that can adapt and function in multiple roles providing solutions in any given situation. Pirlo wants his team to dominate the ball, play with freedom in the final third and be quick to suffocate play when the game is in transition. People have speculated as to what Pirlo’s preferred formation will be, but last week’s friendly against Novara provided a glimpse into how La Vecchia Signora will play under his guidance.

Versatile players creating a hybrid formation that enables the control and manipulation of space. It’s an ideology that’s been deployed by many across Europe and in keeping with Pirlo’s views on modern football. Going forward, Pirlo’s team formed a 3-2-5 system in possession and reverted into a more conventional 4-4-2 without the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo was of course a central feature and in this set-up the Portuguese Number 7 will have plenty of support around him. Albeit against an opponent from the third division, CR7 and co already looked more at home with Pirlo’s ideas than they did under Sarri last season.

Committing high numbers to the attack, their approach was less rigid than we had seen in previous months and the new faces gave the team a fresh feel, making a positive impact in the process. Pirlo already appears to have the players on side, they are buying into his plan and are able to relate to him on a personal level.

It cannot be overstated how important it is that Pirlo is making players feel comfortable, forming a group and fuelling enthusiasm around the training ground. Pirlo’s ability to man manage and motivate a group of experienced players will be as crucial as any of his tactics. If there was any initial scepticism amongst fans around the choice of Pirlo, that has been replaced with an eagerness to see a different playing style. Even a dysfunctional transfer strategy has not overshadowed the curiosity around what l'architetto will bring. Pirlo is making Juventus feel like Juventus again.

It is clear that Pirlo still requires the club to do business on the player front before the close of the transfer window next month, as he is still missing pieces of his puzzle. It is obvious to say there is a long road ahead and they will certainly come across difficult challenges.

Andrea Pirlo has overcome problems before in his career, but this latest reinvention attempt as a world class coach is his toughest yet and no one will be surprised if he achieves it.


Have your say...
Looking good after that win against Sampdoria but I will know more after the clash with Roma.

With the arrival of Morata giving us a new attacking option, it is beginning to look a little more positive.
on the 24th September, 2020 at 2:45pm
Btw, at times, when attacking, it looked to be 3-4-2-1 or 3-2-4-1 with Frabotta as left wing-back, Cuadrado as the right & Rabiot/Mckennie in the center, with Ramsey on the left & Kulusevski on the right, just in front of them & in behind Ronaldo! If they get Dzeko or whomever, maybe they could revert to a back 4 & go 4-2-3-1 again with Dybala in behind? To think they've got him, Arthur, Bentancur & De Ligt to come back in, as well as Demiral again, the options seem endless!
on the 21st September, 2020 at 10:06am
I've not seen such a dominant, pacy Juve in aeons! 19 attempts(9 on target) 61% possession, passing accuracy at 90% with 653 completed. Kulusevski's a game-changer, as is Osimhen btw, Napoli look awesome with him but Juve have impressed me the most so far, espec in that 1h. That's 3 match-winners they have now in DK, Ron & Dybala. Mckennie, Ramsey & Frabotta all impressed too. Samp had a go in 2h & put pressure on Juve a bit but Pple should be more willing to give Pirlo a chance now. Wow!
on the 21st September, 2020 at 9:40am
really and truely it seems like pirlo is trying to implement different ideas into world football. tday the tactical formation read 5-4-1. i guess at times it turned into a 3-52 in attack. but danilo who was in the '3 man" backline played so high up the pitch. i think that is what the coach wanted. but if Dzeko comes it can be highly possible that juve can play with Dzeko, Ronaldo, Dybala, Kulusevski on the field at the same time.if juve get kean and with cuadrado,bernadeshi, costa there is cover
on the 21st September, 2020 at 8:06am
@MaestroBall, Ramsey is Ramsey. The Welsh has huge quality but couldn't shine with Sarri's rigid tactic.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 4:45am
Just read this after my rant on previous blog...
I agree with writer: Pirlo's success as coach will not surprise anyone; It would be surprising if he fails.

--No one could do worse than Sarri! OK, Fonseca probably...
(BTW, I rate Sarri but this Juve project wasn't for him.)

I just don't understand why people expect that every coach will reinvent football & philosophise about it.
Andrea will not overcomplicate; he'll play with the toy, not dismantle it immediately.

Luca, great imput, man!
on the 20th September, 2020 at 9:08pm

This is what Juventus been waiting for, total control, score would have been bigger had Ronaldo bit more lucky.

Ramsey playing his best ever in Juventus shirt

Better defence, attacking like a river, got identity in the blood

Bravo maestro!!!
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:51pm
I hope Pirlo has a top notch "finishing" component to his training regiments. If there's anything that Juve needs, it's to make sure that others can finish well and not just CR7 and Dybala. Also for those looking for high press, I dont think we will see that until Demiral and DeLigt are together. You need a high def line for that and Bonucci and Chiello dont have the pace (maybe against smaller teams yes).
on the 20th September, 2020 at 1:57pm
Line ups didn't exactly go to plan once I posted them haha. Never mind
on the 20th September, 2020 at 9:16am
I am very excited for tonight.I had strong reservations when we appointed Pirlo,but I am placing my utmost trust in him and Andrea Agnelli, and as Juulesy says,we must feel excited about being Juve fans.I would have liked a young,fast number 9, and Locatelli in midfield, but I also understand the current financial constraints. Let's just hope Pirlo coaches like he plays, because then Juve will be truly inspirational.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:27am
Lines up like this: Szcy

Danilo De Ligt Demiral/Chiellini

Kulu Mcken/Bentan Arthur Sandro

Dybala Dzeko Ron

In Possession: Szcy

Danilo De Ligt Demiral/Chiellini

Mcken/Bentan Arthur

Dybala Sandro

Kulu Dzeko Ron

Out of Possession Szcy

Danilo De Ligt Demiral/Chiellini Sandro

Kulu Mcken/Bentan Arthur
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:18am
Mckennie playing the right side of the CM's would also have the legs and energy to cover for Kulu not having to get back so much but then where does that leave Bentancur who showed a lot of promise last season. I would still be worried by Dzeko, Ronaldo and Dybala who offer no pressing whatsoever.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:10am
Pirlo may play a 3-4-3 with a front line of Dybala & Ronaldo playing narrowly either side of Dzeko leaving the wide mids to give you the width but then who plays in those wide positions? Maybe Juve will adopt an A symetrical formation with Kulu wide on the right with more attacking intent and Sandro wide on the left with more defensive thoughts. Danilo playing RCB would allow Juve to morph into a back 4 with him shifting out to RB and Sandro filing back in at LB.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:05am
Whilst i'm intrigued to see how this plays out in high level football I am equally worried once again where this leaves Juves best player, Dybala? You'd think playing a 3-5-2 would be perfect for Dybala, his best position is playing as that second striker floating around his strike partner. However Ronaldo isn't going to be left out and Pirlo seems desperate to play a proper striker alongside him so unless Dybala plays as a no.10 just off of them I can't see where he fits in.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 8:01am
Really good article. I’m so looking forward to see how Pirlo’s Juve play, and hope it spells the introduction of modern, free flowing and attacking football (that was hoped for under Sarri but never materialised). The squad isn’t up to full strength yet, and his ideas will take time to bed in. I just hope he is given enough time. This evening is fascinating, as the experienced Ranieri will certainly create problems for Pirlo and his ‘New’ Juve.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 7:54am
Composure is something we could do with. Time to put behind the hissy fits of Allegri and blame game of Sarri. I want to feel the excitement of being a Juve fan, the kind when Davids, Nedved and Del Piero stepped on the pitch. Haven't felt that in ages. Hopefully McKennie will help with that. 'Juventus feeling Juventus again' - that's what it's about. And of course the CL.
on the 20th September, 2020 at 12:16am

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