Monday April 25 2016
An Ode to Allegri

Forget Antonio Conte, argues Edo Dalmonte, Max Allegri has made this Juventus team his own.

Juventus' tumultuous win over Fiorentina did little but confirm the Old Lady's reputation as a ruthless killing machine. Cancelling out Nikola Kalinic's equaliser within a matter of seconds brought out the usual “same old Juve” refrains. Fifth Scudetto, here we come!

Is this impression misleading? How is it that manager Max Allegri can be overlooked after plundering 73 out of a possible 75 points, and why are his predecessor and his players arguably earning more credit than he is?

To tell the truth, many of us have never relinquished that final bit of suspicion about old Max. Was it because his Milan side gradually got worse, or was it the negative football, bent more on breaking up play and hitting the opponent on the counter? The Old Lady's catastrophic start to the current season – three wins in ten– didn't help. Even when Juventus recovered, onlookers saw fit to credit the team, seeing as some of its senators reportedly let their manager know that they desired a return to 3-5-2.

The trouble is, however, that we all tend to use a narrative framework, when real life is far more complicated. In this case, the innovator earns the lion's share of the praise (Bill Shankley, Rinus Michels), whilst the successor (Bob Paisley, Stefan Kovacs) is applauded, but always saddled with some suspicion.

Or is he? Remember Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello? This is not to say that Conte or Allegri are at their level, but they may join them yet. Successors can, and have, made someone else's creation their own. And Allegri is certainly doing that.

What if the meeting with the players after the Sassuolo defeat were interpreted as a positive, as Allegri's ability to listen to criticism and make changes? Even then, the Tuscan coach has returned to four at the back since, and used the 4-3-1-2 to great effect in last year's magical Champions League run.

Speaking of the players, the “Conte's guys” excuse has worn thin. Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo are gone. Only the latter is arguably missed, and we always knew it wouldn't last forever. Even then, neither Vidal nor Pirlo looked that inspired in their last season.

Allegri's response? To galvanize Paul Pogba into taking over and filling the vacuum. Far more consistent this year, the Frenchman has provided either a goal or an assist in each of Juventus' last seven Serie A games. He's totally ditched the Clark Kent persona – though the glasses remain – and become a full-time Superman.

On the subject of Europe's Elite, remember when Conte's Juventus never looked like competing with Bayern Munich? When it was his turn to go two-nil down to the Bavarians, Allegri orchestrated a near-perfect return leg, nearly pulling off a stunning coup.

This is not to say that Allegri is mister perfect: he was lucky to beat Napoli at home recently (though he got the sub right with Simone Zaza, as he did last night with Alvaro Morata), and his first Bianconeri survived their CL group by the skin of their teeth.

But who is perfect, exactly? It is high time we cease to assume the worst about Max: maybe Milan were bad because the club was horribly run, and maybe Filippo Inzaghi was to blame for that scuffle.

Maybe Allegri isn't a horrible mistake away from turning into a terrible coach again. Maybe he's the man whose team has revved into gear as the season wore on, instead of petering out like Napoli, Inter and Fiorentina. This despite Juventus racking up over 50 injuries, as his sides always do.

Maybe Allegri is the right man to take the Bianconeri forwards, too. It is a huge credit that he has gradually integrated the likes of Paulo Dybala (22), Alex Sandro (25) and Daniele Rugani (21), with the team hardly breaking stride. Forget the past, Juventus fans: Allegri is taking care of the present... and the future.

Have your say...
charles, if you like anti-football, the likes of athletico is producing, then its pointless to continue this conversation with me. I'm totally against that style of play.
Juventini86, I said in the beginning, I like Allegri with his tactical mind, but I would have loved if he could mix conte's game with his tactical geniality, thats all. :)
on the 9th May, 2016 at 11:15am

Conte 2013/4 vs Allegri 2014/5: No Morata vs Morata
Conte 2013/4 vs Allegri 2014/5: fail in a group w/Galatasary
(while Allegri's MILAN didn't) vs beating Real to reach the final.

You can't win this argument, nor can you expect Conte to do more with Iturbe, the one player he wanted so badly he left when he didn't get him. Like I said, this is still Conte's Juve but Conte didn't even win CI once and struggled a lot in Europe.

Give Allegri, the current coach, credit where it's due.
on the 8th May, 2016 at 9:46am
You talk about imposing your style of play, where has it gotten barca or bayern in ucl? Both were knocked out by atl Madrid. Who cares about conte wanting to strike fear into opponents? Soccer nowadays is about results! atl Madrid doesn't have an imposing style, but they get the job done; don't say they don't have quality because they do! Their players are quality players in their own rite, majority of the players are internationals. You don't need to be imposing to be effective!!
on the 7th May, 2016 at 12:48am
..mediocrity of some players showed up and that high tempo we couldn't imposed anymore on a much better team.Thats why,after those two games Conte demanded much better players, players with lots of stamina and skill, skill that can be used to be a team-player, not individual, as it happens often with games under allegri. Conte might not have won the Cl with this team,but one thing is for sure....he would have made other teams fear his style of play, the imposing game.
And when u install such fear, then the players can perform better and at the same time give us fans that comfortable feeling that we can still make it, even under difficulty.
on the 5th May, 2016 at 9:21am
I think u are a bit ungrateful to what Conte achieved.Under the circumstances he started his job,Allegri would have never triumph,mostly believe that, and i think u too. Conte played with a very mediocre team againt a very stronng team, and if u remember very well in allianz arena, after they scored so quick, we put them under so much pressure for the next 20 minutes, with proper domination of the play and they were on the backfoot for those 20 minutes.Then after that the...
on the 5th May, 2016 at 9:15am
..scrutiny and pressure.If thats the style Allegri wants to follow,and you're fine with it, don't expect anytime soon for CL glory, or even if we manage to get it, its going to be very painful for watch, because this style doesn't offer guarantee, and when I say guarantee, i mean a certain believe and confidence that you would conquer the other side, no matter how strong they are..such as bayern and barca have.In Lippi's time we have that belief, even if the other team had more skillful players.
on the 5th May, 2016 at 9:10am
Charles, are you telling me the style of Allegri is all about finesse? Allegri's style has been criticized a lot in italy. There's nothing finesse about sharing the same possession with sassuolo or torino when we have much better players than them!!
Even if thats his style, in terms of patience,"skills","finesse", it certainly not working very well.It certainly works very well for Simeone, who has a lesser team than us, but always putting these "dominant" teams, as you claim they are, under a...
on the 5th May, 2016 at 9:05am
@vini_london + Mustafaa

So, basically he got his tactics right half the time against Bayern. Never tried to make Allegri seem faultless, but both your arguments rely on assuming Conte would be different. I'm sure he would be, but Conte was toothless against Bayern once and didn't make knockouts in another (while Allegri's MILAN did that year, losing to the finalists).

Whatever case you're trying to make, it's not like Conte will return or we're spoiled for alternatives to Allegri.
on the 27th April, 2016 at 10:52pm
I can't identify your tactical analysis in juve's play. Since when has allegri's juve set out to counter attack? Or when have they set out to out-muscle, out-run their opponents? That was conte's style. Allegri's juve is more of finesse, skill, technique, intelligence, patience. Juve seeks to control the best way they can, surely, they can't dominate a team more advanced, like bayern, but juve is proving itself steadily in ucl. FYI:bayern always has more possession than their opponents
on the 27th April, 2016 at 9:28pm
@ vini_london

You spoke my mind. The first leg with Bayern was disasterous because of the stupid coach. we lost the second leg from the ~60th-70th minutes when the stupid coach handicapped the team with his clumsy substitutions, and substituted in a player like Pereyra (who left Mueller alone for the equilizer) and when he needed to sub off a player like Evra.
on the 27th April, 2016 at 8:20pm
..still Allegri choses to use the wrong tactics, hoping he will outsmart them with a counterattacking philosophy or outbursting them with energy. This is so wrong in many levels if you play teams that are built on speed. Take for instance the matches vs borussia dortmund(friedly), borussia M(CL group stages) or bayern munich(the last 16-CL). We suffered the same fate vs Athletico madrid last year in the group stages.The philosophy of the game has to change in order to compete in the future.
on the 27th April, 2016 at 10:10am
juventini86 & Charles.
I still dont get your logic. In Allianz arena, we proved to be on a par(if not a better side) with Bayern. Thats not because of the tactics only, but on head to head as well with players.
Why did we then, allowed bayern to have crazy amount of possesion in turin?Why? After that equalizer, the next day everybody newspaper praised the spirit of comeback of juventus, but nobody questioned the bad tactics of Allegri.
We can muscle these teams out with the players we have,but.
on the 27th April, 2016 at 10:05am

My point is, not even now when allegri did amazing with Juve are you able to accept it, THAT is my point.
on the 27th April, 2016 at 9:54am
We'll just have to agree to disagree. Just remember that Conte left unsatisfied with Juve's transfers. We may have him to thank that neither Vidal nor Pogba left that year, but he wanted Iturbe badly (unfit for Roma) and big money signings to compete in the CL. Allegri managed just fine with Morata alone as a notable extra, making it to the final and beating Madrid on the way.

Lucky or not, he went the distance and the Bayern games hardly count as negatives. Both are proven coaches, either way.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 10:26pm
what do you mean 'the first 60 minutes against bayern should never have been allowed'? Have you forgotten juve did really well to take bayern all the way like that? Don't forget under conte, juve had a total blackout vs Fiorentina, losing the game in the 2nd half 2 goals ahead. I don't remember allegri losing a game in that fashion. Conte is a local champion, he couldn't even get to the europa league final, once again proving his narrow mindedness in his failure to overcome benfica
on the 26th April, 2016 at 9:32pm
@ juventini86

"Conte in Europe had major failures, whether you could argue it's out of his control or not" This is not for you to decide. Conte only had two seasons in Europe. First one went out against the eventual winner, the second one was a EL Semifinal (with a team that was still being built to be tough in Europe).

Conte never went out with embarrassing aggregate scores.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:44pm
@ viktoria
Your stupid point is ? do you wanna a pacifier ?
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:36pm
why conte had to win CL with less skilled players whereas Allegri can only try to win it?
It just doesnt make sense. I was talking about style of play in here. Conte introduced a very entertaining style of play, unseen at juve for many years and made average players look great.
Allegri though, with a strong group of players produce some very average games. What happened in the first 60 minutes in turin against bayern, should have never been allowed to happen, and thats a fact.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 1:27pm

Both coaches have positives and negatives. Conte never won CI, that's something important to remember. Allegri got it on his first season and is in the final now. Conte in Europe had major failures, whether you could argue it's out of his control or not. Allegri got to a final and barely lost to Bayern.

Neither side is fully correct, Conte built this team and Allegri refined it. We can only what both did for us, and right now I wish Allegri could do more in Europe next season.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 11:31am
...." Would you rather have Conte's style of play with these players we have now, or Allegri's style of play with these players we have now" ?

I really want to move towards Conte's style of play, imposing our game on the others teams, instead of waiting for them to make a mistake. I want to feel the adrenaline of a high tempo game, instead of cringing myself whether the tactics will triumph over the imposing game that the other size is doing to us.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 9:09am
"Oh, but why didnt he kill the easy games in the group stages before going to istanbul"?
You could say the same thing about last year group stages under allegri or this year group stages. Did we kill the easy games, vs borussia M, or sevilla? we all praised the game at the allianz arena but we completely forgot how awful we were in turin vs bayern, in spain vs sevilla, in both games vs borussia M... How come we're not judging allegri based on that?
I like allegri, but you juventus fans....
on the 26th April, 2016 at 9:06am
...performed worse than Allegri, if he too had the same players under his disposal? how? in the first year in the CL, he reached quarter finals with a very average team, destroying the reigning champions of CL in the group stages.
Istanbul game really cannot be taken into account cuz we all knew that under different circumstances we would have definitely won that game, or even equalize but definitely not lost. we were much much better than them. someone can say....
on the 26th April, 2016 at 9:01am
...someone can claim that Allegri is a better tactician. So? Tactics don't always win games..sometimes heart and pure determination can win you games...see the game vs bayern this year. tactics went out of window for guardiola but heart and determination made them equalize and eventually won the game.
Under conte we would have never collapsed like that. he would have certainly still have motivated his players even after the equalizer. And please, how would anyone know that Conte would have....
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:57am
I've read some comments and interestingly enough people always love to make comparison between Conte-Allegri.
We would never know who is a better coach but we can compare their style of play and also the players at their disposal.
Is anyone here going to admit that Allegri's style of play is better than Conte's?
Under Conte we never surrender possesion on the entire three seasons, but under allegri we seems to always surrender it even against a merely good side? I never understood that....
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:52am
I think that the biggest credit goes to Marotta, as he changed conte for allegri, as he changed tevez for dybala, khedira for vidal, took alex sandro,... He knows how to do great business without paying ridiculous amounts. I mean it, if he wasn't at juve, than they were still fighting for 4th or 5th, even with conte or allegri.
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:47am
Let's not forget all the help he has received from referees and linesmen!
on the 26th April, 2016 at 8:39am
In my opinion, Allegri is a great coach. I remember in the summer of 2014, when he was hired, everyone executed him before he was sentenced, myself included. But, the truth is, he won me over as early as December 2014, after juve scaled through the group phase of last season's ucl. He is a master tactician and with all due respect to conte, conte would never have reached the ucl final with that group of players, his naivety on the continental stage would have come to the fore as expected.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 11:08pm
Allegri did incredible things with Conte's players. He has made this team tactically flexible and able to adjust pretty much to any opponent. I give Conte credit for what he did while at Juve but as someone already said Conte's team was very rigid and predictable Allegri has changed that and made Juve one of the top 10 teams in Europe. The credit also needs to be given to the veteran players that helped the new ones adapt and adjust to the team.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 10:13pm
We are more adaptable under Allegri for sure. On the other hand the mental conditioning of this squad is purely down to Conte and leaders like Buffon helping it carry forward. And Conte had some ghastly figures in his team (Borriello!) What Allegri has done is managed this transition effectively and calmly.

We have yet to see a true masterclass from Allegri in Europe. Like how Joachim Loew helped Germany triumph against Argentina. That first leg second half against Bayern was inspiring.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 9:58pm
Max is not to fault with bad Milan results. It was all down to the upper management that continuously sold the best players leaving Allegri with the weaker squad year after year. On top of that Milan and their president used to criticize him and blame him for their mistakes. Despite that he managed to make a comeback in the second season with them, and in the third do as best as he could with the players he had at disposal.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 9:35pm

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