Thursday July 17 2014
Allegri’s opportunity, Juve’s gain?

Max Allegri’s appointment at Juventus doesn’t have everyone happy, but Luca Persico says the ingredients for success are there.

“The objective is always to continue to win. We want to continue our cycle of victories.” The aim is clear for Massimiliano Allegri. The words of sporting director Giuseppe Marotta at the unveiling of the new Juventus Coach were patent and to the point.

Having won the last three titles - one unbeaten and the most recent with a record points total of 102 - Juventus sit head and shoulders above everyone else in Serie A.

Last term, Roma came second with 85 points. That would have won them the Scudetto in five of the last seven seasons, yet they were 17 points adrift of the Bianconeri. Departing Coach Antonio Conte has set a benchmark that is dauntingly high and leaves his replacement Allegri with an unenviable task - one that many believe he is under qualified for.

Around 300 Juventus fans protested the former Milan man’s appointment outside the club’s headquarters yesterday evening, while a handful of leading ultras were even allowed into the grounds to vent their frustration.

The message is clear, yet Allegri believes he can get the tifosi onside. “I understand the scepticism of the fans,” he insisted. “How to win them over? With results, work, respect and professionalism.”

His first job will be to repair his relationship with Andrea Pirlo. It was Allegri, after all, who was a leading voice in allowing him to leave Milan for Juventus in the summer of 2011. The tactician started the charm offensive in his Press conference, noting that he is” “lucky to be working with him again.”

Allegri gets a second chance with Pirlo due to a managerial resume that is smattered with several notable achievements. His promotion to Serie B with Sassuolo, in 2008, highlighted his potential as a promising Coach and he was subsequently snapped up by Cagliari. His debut season in Sardinia was successful - he led Cagliari to ninth - and he was awarded the Panchina d’Oro. Whilst surprisingly replaced towards the end of his second season with the Rossoblu, Allegri was handed his big break in June 2010, when Milan came calling.

The Rossoneri had gone six seasons without winning the Scudetto, but with the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and Robinho, Allegri was able to pip city rivals Inter to the title. That victory was supposed to be a building block, but the emergence of Conte’s Juventus, the subsequent sales of Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva and a lack of investment made Allegri’s job increasingly difficult over the next three seasons and he was eventually sacked in January.

In those two-and-a-half seasons the followed the Scudetto victory, Allegri did, however, show good aspects of his coaching that will perhaps reassure Juventus fans.

His ability to adapt and to find solutions with an incomplete squad and substandard players was vital in securing an unlikely third placed finish in the 2012-13 campaign. His clever, yet subtle tactical tweaks that earned famous wins over Arsenal and Barcelona will also be welcome at a club that has underwhelmed in the Champions League. He also arguably should have broken Juventus’ unbeaten run in Conte’s debut season, when Sulley Muntari’s goal was wrongly disallowed.

Despite his successes, Allegri will know he has to adapt. He needs to be more assured and composed at crucial moments, while his training methods that have seemingly lead to injuries and questionable levels of fitness should be tweaked.

The 46 year-old inherits a squad that is set in its ways and at its peak. Allegri cannot improve on what Conte’s achieved with them domestically, but he has to continue with the strong foundations that have been built and try to refresh where necessary.

He will hope to win over the fans with an improved performance in the Champions League - the only competition Conte fell short in. To do that, he may switch to a back four - a decision that would be risky, but ensure that this is a Juventus that has his stamp on it.

The timing of Conte’s departure has given Allegri an incredible opportunity he may not have otherwise got. His appointment is rightly questioned, but he has shown at Milan that when he has a settled squad at his disposal, he can win. Allegri will certainly find that at Juventus, while his ability to balance continuity with the right regeneration will determine whether he keeps the Old Lady at the top of Italian football.

Have your say...
I think Juve are going to sell both Pogba and Vidal and Conte left cause he knows this is coming. Nedved talks out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. He also took Suarez's side and throws Chiellini under the bus on the biting incident. Fire Nedved Now!
on the 21st July, 2014 at 10:45pm
There is no denial that Conte did not do well in Europe. But, was that down purely to wrong tactics on Conte's part or him not having the right players at his disposal and having to do the best with what he had? we will never know. Plus, I am not sure if by letting Conte go, the board is signalling to the fans that they want to do better in Europe. If its about balancing the books, then surely UCL must be their number one objective as its the most lucrative football competition on the planet.
on the 21st July, 2014 at 3:43pm

I dont think Conte left because things were gettig tough at Juve. He realised that if he did carry on, the only thing he'd win again would be the league title. I think he wanted to add a few quality players to the squad to have a chance of winning the UCL - but the players he asked for were not bought. As a coach, you dont want to become a one trick pony and maybe he wanted to avoid running that risk.
on the 21st July, 2014 at 2:14pm
I believe in long-term plans. Conte picked juve from the ashes and made them kings of Italy once again, his record domestically is unquestionable. His record in Europe, would have improved this coming year I believe. Conte is Juve at heart, and we should never forget what he has done for this club at both player and coach level. I think he will come back later in life to coacj Juve again. Now we should support Allegri and not encourage him, not discourage.End of the day we want the team to win!
on the 20th July, 2014 at 7:36am

That is a gaping hole.
on the 19th July, 2014 at 6:50pm

You say that Allegri: "when the going gets tough- goes AWOL. That IS NOT the kind of coach Juve needs right now." This might as well be 100% true about Allegri (i don't know what to expect from him, we will find out soon enough), but one thing I can tell you. CONTE LEFT ALL JUVENTINI WHEN THE GOING GOT TOUGH! What could have happened to Conte had he stayed? Maybe lost? So what?? He wasn't getting fired. He quit on our team!
I thank him for all done and accomplished, but he's no Saint!
on the 19th July, 2014 at 5:32pm
@t I fail to understand your point. You seem to be saying Allegri did well in cl unlike Conte. This is the guy that lost at home to SPURS managed by Redknapp in the 2nd round; never got past 1/4 finals; lost at home to Malaga etc. I am really sick of ppl talking as if Milan had the worst squad in the world. Silva n Ibra are d only world class talent sold as others were past it. Guodolin has dealt with far worse and still made Udinese respectable. Besides Milan have cl DNA unlike Juve
on the 19th July, 2014 at 4:44pm
Juventus Maldiviano i agree with you, Conte knew failing for a fourth straight season getting out of CL group stages would put his records into smithereens, so he made the run. Juventus needed a new direction, while Conte brought success domestically he was terrible in CL. Conte had done nothing but come out with a 3-5-2 which is at time laborious to watch and ineffective in CL. With players at his disposal he was unwilling to innovate or test-this is the failure of Conte.
on the 19th July, 2014 at 1:05am
I also do not understand why Allegri seems to be blamed for Milan's failing, he was brought in to create a winning team, the team had a lot of ageing players..wasn't a renewal required? And that would mean changing players, but whoever thinks allegri has any big say on who comes in are stupid, everyone knows its the Milan board who brings in the mediocre players. And they were not willing to invest, allegri had to do the best with what he had. A lot of coaches would just simply leave.
on the 19th July, 2014 at 12:49am
Conte was not good enough though his motivational skills were best. He had little tactical gamelan as seen on Europe he comes up very very short. Even Milan under Allegri did better than him. seriously, do we just want to be Italy champions but fail every season in CL. Why didn't conte move to a back four would be better?? Cos he was scared losing,he was scared to experiment. Allegri on the other hand has shown he is willing to be brave enough to make changes in formation and personnel.
on the 19th July, 2014 at 12:42am
Oh pls there's too much whining and complaining here. Everybody should just get behind Allegri and hope does fine. The article,isn't wrong frankly Allegri really did a good job at Milan , but Milan's management was terrible, they had an ageing squad a very poor team, yet he did extremely well. At least didn't start nagging rather he did what he had to do professionally. Really i think conte's time is up, while his given all, his all was not enough, look at our failures in CL, 3 seasons in a row.
on the 19th July, 2014 at 12:34am
@ Maldini's Heir

Dude, don't try to cover for him. This guy has no character. The players he's got in his hands now were trained a guy with powerful personality and strong character, things that Allegri doesn't have. Now, they being trained with a guy that was threatened of sacking for months and months and he never had his say about that.

Do you think Allegri could offer more than Conte would ? HELL NO !

This was Conte's team. I just can say that I'm doomed now.

Welcome back Maifredi.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 4:25pm
What bugs me the most is Allegri's passive attitude when faced with tough times. He seems a little bit too laid back for my liking. Rememeber, Capello had one of the best Juve teams ever assembled, but even he struggled in Europe. I feel, with Allergi's appointment, we have lost on both fornts - Europe and domestically. At least, with Conte in charge we knew that the title was pretty much in our pockets every year - even if Conte was pretty poor in Europe.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 2:04pm
@ mustaafaa Fair point. I think his rapport with the senior players including seedorf, gattuso, pirlo and zambrotta wasn't great. In fairness he took over an ageing squad and wanted to stamp his authority. He had a better rapport with his "own" players. Monty and SES spoke highly of him and I admire his ability to turn things round (which must have included man management skills) in 12/13 to finish third. Interestingly allegri faces similar challenges at juve who have a number of senior players.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 1:43pm
Allegri had a tough job at Milan from his second season on, but over time they got duller and duller to watch, it was painful toward the end, and since he's left the injury crisis' have eased. Conte is a big loss for Juve and one that will hopefully lead to a much more open scudetto race next April/May. I hope Pirlo walks also, I remember a lot of insulting reasons given by Allegri for him leaving.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 12:41pm
Great article !
on the 18th July, 2014 at 11:57am
Juve/Conte together or not may never be able to repeat the success of last 3 years. As a coach Conte's teamtalk is a key factor to success, while tactically his ideas are limited & hardly tested in Serie A. In UCL Conte's limitations were exposed while we overlooked the fact for domestic success. Juve failed last 2 seasons when required to fight & chase. Be it against Bayern or Galatasaray, Juve hardly put a fight. Its good Conte is gone as he was looking his future elsewhere even last summer.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 11:48am
"he has shown at Milan that when he has a settled squad at his disposal, he can win"...C'mon when you have a settled squad you have to win at these big club

Conte transformed a team who finished 7th in the league consecutively to champions....that's why he was regarded as a great Coach. Moreover doing good in a club like Cagliari finishing 9th is not what we should talk.

At Juve only winning counts, finishing second is a failure for me as a Juve fan
on the 18th July, 2014 at 10:32am
If Allegri wants to win over the Juventini then why not adapt his way of playing to the Conte way ,that has given all the records in the last 3 years.This would keep the players happy and will not disrupt the routine.Why change something when it is not broken!!If he is a "clever" manager, when playing in CL he can adapt to a style that can be more productive.If he can do this then he will gain respect from me and many other Juventini.

Frank M.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 10:14am
I don't think Conte got maximum out of the squad he had.The maximum of Juve's last term squad wasn't 3rd place finish behind Galatasaray and defeat in the hands of Benfica.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 10:10am
I am afraid Allegri does not have the right credentials to propel this team to the next level in Europe. He would do (in Europe) as well as Conte would have done with this crop of players. If anything, his arrival has weakened the team domestically. He has very suspect tactics and when the going gets tough- goes AWOL. That IS NOT the kind of coach Juve needs right now. A big round of applause to Juve for destroying all of Conte's good work over the last tree years. The wining cycle has ended.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 9:29am
I don't care about the past. I just want Pirlo infront of a back 4, Diamond midfield with Vidal at its peak (Where he plays for Chile and where we can make the most of his late runs into the box and attempts at winning the ball high in the opposition's half) and two forwards. Too much to ask? I'm all Juventini can get on board with that?
on the 18th July, 2014 at 7:22am
i think juventus management left by conte and left by very minimum option for the head coach , but why allegri?
we must admit that allegri is good but i think what conte done with juventus while he in charge is a big burden to allegri level or any ccach in serie a
we as juventini have a very high expectation this season,
scudetto and champion league winner
i dont think he can do the job well
i prefer if the management try to gamble on walter mazzari or roberto mancini better result i think
on the 18th July, 2014 at 5:14am
As if losing Conte wasn't bad enough (because of the lack of conviction coming from the board), we go and hire this guy in one day (without interviewing anyone else) who nearly single handily ruined Milan over his tenure, refused to resign when the club languished so he could continue to collect his salary, repeatedly insulted us over that same span and alienates one of our greatest players in Pirlo. I have no confidence left in this club. It's clear, all they care about is bottom line profit.
on the 18th July, 2014 at 1:26am
@ Maldini's Heir

Personality? Good rapport with his players? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?!

Go and read what Zambrotta revealed after the second leg loss to Arsenal, and then come talk about good personality and rapport.

This stooge would only bring back Manfredi days. Take a seat back.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 10:44pm

Letting the best player Italy has had in years go for free isn't going to help any team's finances. It was Max's idea to let Pirlo walk and the dough head brass allowed it to happen. How does Pirlo not fit into any manager's plans? I'm glad Milan finally sacked him.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:47pm
Not greatly happy about the appointment, but I thank the heavens it's not Mancini.
The only thing I hope that happens is that Conte takes over national team.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:01pm
vs Barca. Pazzini's injury took away our ability to play in the air & hold up play which was key to disrupting their rhythm + our counter by bypassing their mid. No eligible FWD could play that style for us. Flamini played his worst game for us. Couldn't win a ball then make a simple pass. Muntari was on a yellow, without hindsight, playing Matt was sensible. He is reliable + experienced. One Plan beat Barca back then, we had only one fwd to apply it, he was hurt= no depth on bench=B&G's fault.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 7:30pm
Allegri likes his diamond midfield, would like to see him play 4132 utilizing all of Juve's best 4 midfielders.

I think he's a good manager who deserves another chance, partly suffered at Milan due to the clubs financial problems.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 6:43pm
Losing Conte hurts, but all things end -- good and bad. All things crossed now for this new era, an era that will also have an end. Juve will go on.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 5:00pm

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