Tuesday April 6 2021
Hypocritical to sack Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo could be sacked if Juventus lose to Napoli, but Kaustubh Pandey argues that the coach is not the only one guilty of Juventus' downfall.

Despite recent glory, Juventus are staring at the prospect of a potential change in the dug-out for the third time in just as many years.

The Bianconeri have gone back ten seasons as they find themselves fighting for a top-four spot after nine Serie A titles in a row. For all the decisions they've made, it seems as if there's now a realisation that Juventus did get things wrong.

The process began when Andrea Agnelli, Fabio Paratici and Pavel Nedved had disagreements about who Massimiliano Allegri's successor would be. In all honesty, the President didn't want to part ways with Allegri in the first place and vetoed a possible return of Antonio Conte.

The former Italy CT was among the candidates to take the Juventus job along with Simone Inzaghi and Maurizio Sarri. Almost like they didn't know what he represented, the ex-Napoli boss was brought in.

He arrived during a window where the focus seemed to be financial and not sporting, despite the €85m signing of Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax. There was an emphasis on selling players in a desperate attempt to lure Mauro Icardi to the club and, at the same time, keep the books in order.

The three most significant sales in the summer of 2019 were Leonardo Spinazzola to Roma, Joao Cancelo to Manchester City, in a swap deal with Danilo, and Moise Kean to Everton for just €30m.

Sarri was handed a stagnated squad that had played a completely different brand of football over the last ten years. He was expected to complete his long-term overhaul within months and get aged players to change their playing style in days. It never happened.

The target was to win the Champions League, something Allegri couldn't do after years at the club and despite having Cristiano Ronaldo in the team, albeit in his last season in Turin. Sarri's relationship with a part of the dressing room was not ideal either and blinded by their short-term approach to fixing problems, Juventus sacked Sarri in August, despite a ninth Scudetto in a row.

Pirlo's appointment was hypocritical in a way not only because the former midfielder had been named head coach of Juventus U23 squad only ten days prior.

Il Maestro was one of the most brilliant players in the history of the game. But, as many of his former teammates had warned, coaching is a whole different thing. Pirlo hadn't even submitted his thesis for the UEFA Pro Coaching Course when he got the job and had to replace someone who had worked his way up the footballing pyramid, struggling through the bottom and grafting his way to the top.

It isn't to say that Pirlo hasn't brought fresh ideas to the plate. He has. The squad has been replenished much more than it was under Sarri. Like there was under Sarri, though, it still seems in a developmental stage. The double-pivot that Pirlo uses seems more suited to a midfield-three.

There have been issues around getting killed on the transition and getting overrun in the heart of the park. Dejan Kulusevski seems more suited to another role than what he's getting. In essence, there's often a lack of balance in the team, and like it was under Sarri, it is robotic multiple times. And it indeed looked robotic in that dreaded night against Porto.

The dynamism has worked well sometimes, especially the reliable trick of dropping Alvaro Morata deeper to pick out a Ronaldo run in-behind. A general front of five when building from the back with a rhombus is an innovation that has caught the eye of many and helped Weston McKennie's development.

But in many ways, it's almost like a first stage of the evolution of this Juve side. There is still a lack of variety, leading to things looking one-dimensional, especially when breaking organised defences down.

However, the word 'process' has long been diminished from the elite European clubs' dictionaries. It begs an ideological question more than a tactical question. It's about the identity as a club (or as a brand). But more than anything, it would be hypocritical to axe a 'development' coach after just one season, when the board had rather unfair expectations in the first place. They've done that before with Sarri and left themselves tied up.

Sacking Pirlo would demand a compensation fee for the Lombardian, and it would mean starting a new project all over from the beginning. It would mean that they'd have to hire a new coach with a different philosophy and different transfer priorities. It'd bring additional financial burden during the pandemic era, and it's something Juve can ill-afford, especially since Pirlo was a low-cost take himself.

It must be said that finishing outside the top four would be difficult to accept, especially for its economic implications. Pirlo has the opportunity to coach the team with the highest wage bill in Serie A and one of the best players in the history of the game, namely Cristiano Ronaldo. The coach hasn't been self-critical and indeed has some responsibility, but maybe expectations on him were a bit too high from the very beginning.

Agnelli picked the former midfielder to bring 'enthusiasm' back to the Continassa but hiring an inexperienced coach for such a predictably chaotic season was a huge gamble that is not paying off.

Pirlo's sacking could easily lead to even more complications. If firing Sarri after a season was unfair, the same applies for Pirlo - irrespective of their backgrounds. It's time for Juve to learn their lessons and stick with Pirlo. Otherwise, one would argue the club's plan over the last three years was not to have a plan at all.



Have your say...
cant be hypocritical, when it has already been proven that firing allegri was a mistake. fact is it wasnt a new style of entertaining football that was needed to concur europe. it was simply an investment in top quality midfielders. something that juve has not done in years. same way i cant just read a book and just start to drive manual trailer truck for the 1st time and succeed at it. same thing it is with coaching. by the looks of pirlo coaching i think he needs a few years at a small club
on the 6th April, 2021 at 7:15pm
The sacking of Pirlo will happen even if they do not lose to Napoli.The reason being he was only a stop gap idea,because all the other managers they wanted were not going to move.
The cost of hiring him was in the budget they had. I will gamble on Allegri returning to the role sooner rather than later. Allegri style of play was not pretty but was effective.He is more of a motivator and can understand players roles.Allegri has been waiting for a change of fortunes around Turin.
Forza Juve,
on the 6th April, 2021 at 7:11pm
@PARATICI: you can't argue the point because you know it's true so you attack me? I AM MARCO BRANCA - i am inter's greatest Sorting Director EVER !
on the 6th April, 2021 at 6:02pm
Its simple. This team has no heart. Ronnie plays for himself. The rest are premadonnas besides De Ligt, Buffon and McKennie. See how Mckennie is fearless? Everyone else seems afraid to make a mistake, afraid not to pass to ronnie. Tainted. They waltz onto the field and expect to roll over teams like Porto. Differenze Zidane and Pirlo? Zidane is a bad dude and takes no bull.Benches ronaldo and bale. Pirlo wants to be friends with everyone.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 5:50pm
It hurts deeply to say as a fan of his at Napoli. But if he were given time and money at Juventus, Sarri would have been a legend at the level of Allegri if given confidence.

Thankfully, all Italians can celebrate the shortsighted avarice of Agnelli for making that reality disappear in a puff of smoke :)
on the 6th April, 2021 at 5:46pm
1 day I shall read an article whose headline is in keeping with the actual body. From what I read this particular article , the deduction is that it will be hypocritical not to sack Pirlo.
Once Sarri’s name was brought in then anything other than sacking Pirlo will be hypocritical.
If he thinks sacking Pirlo will be hypocritical then please explain mater if right or wrong but at least it will be fitting. Has Pirlo met his primary objective? Did the board lower expectations of him? Etc
on the 6th April, 2021 at 4:36pm
Even with an inexperienced coach, I can accept not winning the title in a transitional season, but with a team like this squad to not get a top four finish, he has to take some accountability. However I believe management knew the wheels were coming off last season, and knew that having Pirlo would give more good will then Sarri who is hard to love. The offseason is going to see a rebuild. A rebuild Max called for 2 seasons ago.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 4:36pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER... get a life bud! You literally can't put one single sentence without Inter in it, it seems you set Inter as your standard! How it's going so far?
on the 6th April, 2021 at 4:27pm
Pirlo was the signing that brought Juve back to the top in Italy and now they are using him as a scapegoat, which is WRONG. Juve management are to blame as they lack soccer IQ. Signing the same type of midfielder year after year and overpaying for them is just non-sense. It is evident to everyone that Juve have no creative attacking midfielder and NO Full backs that attack open space, create chances or can even cross a damn ball. Those 3 positions are key, plus we need a new goalie asap.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 3:15pm
1. Pirlo was out of his depth with the First Team even before he was appointed.
2. Agnelli was never going to pay him real money while still having to pay Sarri's wages.
3. Pirlo was a stop gap all along.
4. Agnelli is a the real joke here.

Boot Agnelli.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 3:14pm
As with any organisation, waste flows downhill. This squad right now is diseased, poisoned almost. Our never say die mentality has been wiped out completely. The attitude of this new group of players is cancerous. They look like they don't care and aren't trying. We need the fans back ASAP to make these guys understand that they better well start performing. ATM they are living happily in their bubble of mediocrity. Someone needs to burst it. 4/2
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:54pm
The writer problably cant speak italian so hes excused.

Pirlo was a very clever player, also outside of the field, it seemed.
Didnt go to nightclubs, no tattoos, gave very few interviews so he had a kind of mystery about him.

Thats over now lol.

Watching intervews with him for almost a year now, the real him shows. He has no personality, mumbles alot and is not very bright. Italy have realized that.

Great player, awful coach.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:51pm
he won't resign so Paratici or Nedved should be canned regardless of Pirlo leaving or not. They've neglected the midfield for past 5 years and this obsession with signing past it, injury prone have-beens on a "free" has landed us in serious financial difficulty. The squad is overflowing with deadwood and that's on them. Losing in consecutive seasons to Ajax, Lyons and Porto in UCL is a sackable enough offence on it's own. The club needs fresh ideas and serious overhaul 3/2
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:48pm
many changes and not letting this team get a bit of consistency. I mean how many combinations have we had of Ramsey, CR7, Morata, Kulu, Chiesa, Berna? Yes the midfield sucks but he's known that for so long. When it sucks this bad, you play 3 centre mids its simple, not two liabilities! There's been too many mistakes and when the squad isn't perfect then you balance that by having a great coach, not an amateur. Anything other than a win vs Napoli and he must go. Agnelli should join him but 2/2
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:43pm
The project isn’t working. We all know the problems start at board level - terrible midfield, poor transfer strategy etc. However there is no fight in this team and no effective game management when it comes to tactics and adapting strategy. These are on Pirlo.

There’s clearly no strategic alignment between board, players and coach - they’re all playing a different game. Wipe the slate clean! Fire Paratici, get rid of the average players, bring in a new coach and buy players based on his ideas
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:39pm
Sacking Sarri after he delivered the league may have been unfair, but whatever happens this season Pirlo will not win the league and he has already put us at risk of finishing outside the top 4. Therefore the scenarios between the 2 coaches are very different. Pirlo has made big mistakes. Awful team selection away to Inter; playing Demiral in 2nd leg vs Porto; continuing to play Bentancur as playmaker; continuing to play Rabiot; refusing to try Fagioli as CM; just in general making far too 1/2
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:38pm
am interested to hear from people what their thoughts would be on getting mourinho to turin? He may bring back some of that dogged determination that Juve have always had, he has a wealth of experience, could handle the egos and has experience in SerieA, plus he has done quite well in cup competitions, which lets face it when it comes to the champions league, is what the club crave
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:30pm
First sack Paratici and Nedved, bring a better sporting director, then get a better coach.

Honestly, I think Pirlo would've done a great job developing the U-23s and we may have had a few break in to Juve team by now, but the senior job is not good for him just yet.

He should go back to the U23 coach, and work more with Fagioli, Frabotta, Rovella etc. and get them ready to step in to Juve team as they can do better than the current midfield.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 2:20pm
Hypocritical? if we were firing Inter's Gasperini after 4 games I might understand that argument or Inter's Frank De Boer's firing after 85 games maybe but this is Juventus - with a good coach Juve should be tearing mid-table teams apart and showing a consistent game play but with Pirlo Juve is not and at juve that is a firing offense !!
on the 6th April, 2021 at 1:48pm
The team is disorganized and there is no sign of progression; when something doesn’t work, and you give it time and still doesn’t work, you should change it.
Hiring Pirlo was the first and most decisive mistake, but still there is time to make it up a little bit and not finishing the league out of the top four.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 1:34pm

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.