Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said ‘it’s more stressful’ to be a coach than a player, loves to have Cristiano Ronaldo at his disposal and believes ‘a bit of luck’ is needed to go far in the Champions League.
Pirlo started life as a coach with an impressive 3-0 win against Sampdoria, but Roma held the Bianconeri to a 2-2 draw in the second round of fixtures in the new season.
The new coach said he realised ‘day by day’ that he wanted to become a coach and wants to draw inspiration from alle the ‘great coaches’ he has worked under during his career as a player.
“In the years after I had stopped playing, I started studying,” Pirlo told UEFA. “And realised that day by day this passion [for coaching] was growing.
“So, it became an automatic choice to become a coach.
“I had the luck of working with some great coaches. From [Mircea] Lucescu, who was one of my first at Brescia. He was a maestro.
“To [Marcello] Lippi, [Carlo] Ancelotti, [Antonio], Conte and also [Max] Allegri. I had the luck of working with some of the top coaches in the world.
“I’m happy I had the chance to work with them. And I’ll try to take something from each of them.”
Former Brescia teammate Pep Guardiola is one of Pirlo’s ‘role models’ in coaching.
“Guardiola is an example for us all. He’s showing and has shown that he’s one of the best. Since his years with Barcelona’s youth team and the by moving up to the first team.
“He’s shown that young coaches who are keen to promote a certain kind of attacking football are an example to follow.
“Then, we all have our own ideas and I think we need to take them forward, but he’s definitely a role model for the whole footballing movement.”
At Juventus, the former midfielder found a lot of familiar faces and admitted his new role might have taken some getting used to for some of his old friends.
“It’s a great feeling. They’ve been really accommodating,” he added. “Maybe it wasn’t easy for them to see me as their coach in the beginning.
“But in the space of a few hours, they understood that my role was different than a few days earlier.
“So, their attitude changed quickly and easily. They can help me a lot, because they know what it means to play for Juve. They know what it means to win.
“And they also know what it’s like working with me, as they did during the years we played together, so they know the spirit I want to bring to this team.
“So, they’ll be of great help during this season.”
Pirlo admitted it’s a big difference to lead the whole team from the dugout than to be in control of the ball on the pitch.
“It’s definitely more stressful in the dugout because on the pitch I could decide what I wanted to do with the ball.
“From the dugout I can manage, but it’s other people that are interpreting their role, that are playing the matches, so it’s a bit tougher as a coach.
“When I was playing, I had a certain style which meant I could be involved in certain situations and be decisive in certain situations on the pitch.
“Now, I have to do that on my own from the touchline.”
Juventus have made some big changes in the squad this summer and Pirlo believes he has been able to replace some of the ageing stars with young talent.
“They are young players with great quality and with great prospects of improvement,” Pirlo. “So, when a cycle of certain players comes to an end, it’s only right to start over with young players.
“Luckily, we were able to bring in these lads, and with time let’s hope they can develop and become top players like the ones from a few years ago.”
Pirlo loves working with the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and said the 35-year-old has demonstrates a youthful ‘passion to play football’.
“I’m happy to have this icon of world football, to see him every day, to have him at my disposal, to see him train, to see him play.
“It’s an enormous pleasure for me, and for the whole team. He’s someone who works the same now, at 35, as he did as a young lad, with the same passion to play football every day.
“He’s an example for all of us.”
Juventus haven’t won the Champions League since 1995/96, but Pirlo has won the competition twice and knows it requires ‘the utmost attention and a bit of luck’.
“We know when you play in the Champions League, every team are strong, there are no weak teams,” he said.
“So, you have to play against all of them with the utmost attention and passion, because you can’t make any mistakes.
“It’s difficult competition every year because the Champions League is very tough. It depends on the small details.
“When you go back after the winter break, that’s the most difficult period, in my opinion. Around March when teams maybe haven’t got back into the swing of things after preparing for it, whilst others are maybe already in good form.
“So, that’s the most difficult period. You need a bit of luck sometimes, maybe a more favourable draw, because the squad might not be at its best, and you risk losing the whole season.”
Pirlo said he wants to see his team ‘impose’ their game on any opponent, no matter who or where they play.
“I always look to play attacking football, to control the game, go to every stadium and impose our game. That’s our objective,” he said.
“If you play in the Bernabeu or any other stadium, it’s the same, it doesn’t change anything.”