Tuesday December 29 2020
Juve have potential to overcome problems

Juventus are 10 points off Serie A table leaders Milan, but Elio Salerno explains how Andrea Pirlo can overcome the Old Lady’s difficulties.

It has been a little over four months since Andrea Agnelli made the surprise decision to hire Andrea Pirlo and, as expected, Juventus along with their coach have encountered difficulties.

Many still call into question the club’s decision to task a novice tactician with steering one of the world’s biggest clubs through a period of transition and whilst a valid query, many more experienced coaches would have experienced the same issues. Context is paramount when discussing the Italian champions current situation.

Preparation time is pivotal, of which there was and still is little. Work on the grass has been severely hampered by the congested fixture schedule and attempting to integrate a number of new players into a different environment, whilst implementing a modern playing style is arguably as difficult as it gets for any coach, never mind Pirlo taking his first steps into management.

With these factors considered, it would have been easy for Pirlo to continue with what had gone before him just as Maurizio Sarri had done. The former Chelsea boss was expected to change the Bianconeri by delivering a fresh, fluid brand of football.

Instead, Sarri resorted to following a similar method to the man that preceded him. Functional football and a reliance on individuals to win games, ultimately delivering a trophy.

The Italian World Cup winner chose to follow his own path. Much was made of Pirlo’s thesis and it was evident early on he was keen for his ideas to become a reality on the pitch.

Andrea is pro-active, he wants to take the game to his opponent. It’s brave and not without risks, requiring buy-in from players that have become accustomed to winning in a particular way. Changing their mentality is a hurdle that remains at times, unconquered.

Juve are not used to imposing themselves, this is not the way they conduct their business, but it is the direction the club wants to move in and stumbling is an inevitable part of the process for everyone involved.

In the first few weeks, Pirlo was guilty of being over ambitious in his team selections. It appeared he was attempting to get as many of his best attackers on the pitch as possible. It was unbalanced, left holes in their shape and Juve lacked cohesion going forward. Results and performances were in-different but it should be noted how quickly his team had adapted to playing a hybrid system.

The Old Lady had some notable absentees at that time, namely Matthijs de Ligt and Cristiano Ronaldo. It came as no surprise that the return of those two along with others coincided with Juve showing signs of improvement.

Although the aforementioned pair make a substantial difference, Pirlo was naturally learning and growing with each week.

The former midfielder has tweaked aspects of his XI. Now regularly using a third midfield player ahead of his double pivot instead of an attacker brings balance and aids the team in linking play through the thirds.

In wide areas players such as Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro offer better positional discipline both offensively and defensively. The team are more stable as a result of these changes, tougher to beat out of possession and sharper in it.  

In the last month performances have vastly improved and results were following suit, the recent display against Fiorentina was a spoiler. A defeat which is compounded by dropping points in earlier rounds. Despite what happened against La Viola it should not detract from the positive steps both Pirlo and Juve have made.

In 90 minutes we saw the story of Juve’s season so far and within it all the problems that the players and Pirlo will face going forward, but importantly that they have the potential to overcome them.

That illustrious 10th consecutive Scudetto currently feels distant for the Turin giants, but if the last few years have taught us anything it is that you can never rule Juve out. La Vecchia Signora have won a plethora of trophies over the last decade, winning on that scale is unprecedented and should never be taken for granted or with the assumption that it can be simply maintained.

With Pirlo’s arrival began a rejuvenation process. The Bianconeri’s management committed to the remodelling they had openly spoken of before.

It remains to be seen if further squad investment will be made in January but what is certain is that now this commitment has been made, it has to be believed in with or without trophies in the upcoming year.


Have your say...
Oh yes Signor @Bianconerole, He is useless, I say it one more time HE IS USELESS unless he plays like a striker does. It's not because of Covid,virus this virus that,blah blah blah. It's because he simply has no courage to play in front of opponent's goal. Ask Paratici why he brought in Ramsey and McKennie. Dybala doesn't enjoy being surrounded by defender like true striker does. Did you see Juve-Udinese match? His late goal proves my poin here. He's fantastic if he plays closer to goal.
on the 4th January, 2021 at 8:50am
Let us not forget that they still have the best defence in Serie A. A victory later today and one against AC Milan and we will be having a different type of discussion.
on the 3rd January, 2021 at 6:10pm
Why people forget mentioning Under Pirlo there were 5 red cards in 5 games? surely if there is none, Pirlo will bring Juve to the better standings in the serie A. Pirlo is underrated so far
on the 1st January, 2021 at 6:21am
So I am to believe Dybala is useless now after reading from a couple of half wit idiots ignoring reality and opting to be fickle instead Dybala just came off a banner year. Fought off COVID twice and seemingly had every other virus imaginable over the last 8 months. I can overlook a slow start because I can see the long game which includes him being our next captain, bandiera and one of the best players in the world. While you idiots will idolize him again when it’s convenient. As you always do.
on the 31st December, 2020 at 3:44pm
Sell Bernadeschi and Rugani. Invest the money in Aouar.
Keep Dybala.
on the 30th December, 2020 at 4:48pm
@Platini, agree with you about Dybala. He has become a chicken now. When the last time we see La Joya makes his trademark quick turn and getting away from his markers? This guy is useless now because of his new habit, roaming around with no real purpose, it's soo useless. I mean Ronaldo has took that role, why can't he just lurk in front of opponent's goal? The way like Del Piero did in the past when Ibra took that role from him in 2004-2006. I guess Dybala is not too smart, that's why.
on the 30th December, 2020 at 3:53pm
Juve need creativity in midfield and for that Papu Gomez is an opportunist strike we should make in the short term. Pogba and Icardi will help too in June. We can sacrifice Dybala to get them. Dybala has the best form of his life when he played closer to goal.He is most ineffective when he drifts to the right yet he keeps doing it. It makes me sick as he becomes predictable.
on the 30th December, 2020 at 4:42am
Juve may have potential but do they have the hunger?
what they have done so far it looks like they are happy with
second best.There are other teams this season which are showing more hunger and want it more.
I can see from the results that teams that face Juve are not scared to attack them and take chances.So all i ask is that the players show hunger and put some effort in to there play

Forza Juve.
on the 29th December, 2020 at 10:36pm
Why doesn’t he play 4-3-3 with Ronaldo on LW, and one of Chiesa / Kulusevski on the other side with Bernardeschi coming off bench
on the 29th December, 2020 at 6:21pm

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