Ivan Juric finally beat mentor Gian Piero Gasperini for the first time and the Hellas Verona coach explains his attack-minded and often surprising substitutions to beat Atalanta 2-0.
This was the first time in his coaching career that Juric has been able to beat his mentor, as he was Gasperini’s player and then assistant at Genoa.
The 2-0 result, earned in Bergamo during an injury crisis, allowed Verona to leapfrog Atalanta in the table with 15 points to La Dea’s 14.
“Gasp is everything for me on a football level and on a human level has taught me such wonderful values too. I appreciate him very much,” the coach told DAZN.
“Of course, you want to win the game anyway, we lost at the last minute in the previous season, so we’re happy to pick up the three points this time.”
Juric surprised many, including his own players, when he introduced Andrea Danzi for injured Matteo Lovato on 31 minutes, then replaced Danzi with Miguel Veloso for half-time.
“Lovato has great characteristics and can become a great defender. He needs to learn a great deal still, but he has the potential, needs to be calm and focused.
“I had no defenders left, Danzi did well against Joao Pedro the other day in the Coppa Italia against Cagliari, so I thought he could handle Papu Gomez. It didn’t work, though.
“We have a strong rapport in the dressing room and I don’t think it’s a problem. I went to embrace him, was very clear, said he seemed to be struggling in that position and it was best to make a change. He knows how much I admire him and there’s no issue.”
Juric also made attacking changes as time wore on, even after going 2-0 up.
“It depends on the moments. Whenever I tried to sit tight and take the result home, we’d concede on set plays or get pinned back and concede eventually. We tend to concede, so I thought we may as well just play our game and give it a go.
“We’ve decided that is the approach for now, I don’t know if I’ll stick to it in future.”
Verona have leapfrogged Atalanta in the Serie A table, but Juric has no time for questions about their ambition.
“We are the only club in Italy that sold all our players and the rest are on loan. Things are going well right now, the lads are following me, but it’s not like Sassuolo or Bologna, because it’s not something we can really build.
“I won’t rule anything out, as we were ninth last season, but in all honesty I am not thinking about the Europa League.”