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.

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Have your say...

hahahhaa im guessing you cant not even now like allegri even tho hes doing miracles with Juve... sad, just sad.

Well done Juve and well done Allegri.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 8:15pm
Allegri's juve more adaptable than conte's, juve were not unlucky to lose to galatasary then benfica, they were predictable and too rigid.
Conte came to juve and had to change his style of football to suit the players at his disposal, Allegri attempted that this year but did not have to quality of player to play trequartista 4321 so reverted to 351. I have enjoyed allegri's variety of systems and style of play, ie both games against seville and away to bayern.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 6:35pm
Building on success is equally if not more important than achieving success overnight. While I don't intend to take away from Allegri, veterans like Buffon and Evra are who inspired the team when down, and it still very much looks like Conte's Juventus.

Allegri's failure this year is making a trequartista work for him, Hernanes switching roles while Pereyra flopped. However, it's not simple to change coaches and expect the same results. Allegri is an expert at adapting, plus better in Europe.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 4:52pm
Forget Conte? Go have a lollipop.
This has always been Conte's work. If you shoot on Conte because he couldn't get out of the group stages from one out of 2 campaigns, apply your stupid logic to Ancelotti's Juve. If it weren't for this goof choices, Juve would've knocked Bayern out over the two leagues.

I would have loved seeing him taking over from Delneri, only to see him sacked in the same season.
on the 25th April, 2016 at 3:36pm
Yes! About time il Mister gets some love. He continues to prove his critics wrong and this season in particular, which had a eerily Milan "feel" at the start (losing the 3 players like Milan with Ibra and Silva), he navigated the team brilliantly to bring us to where we are today after a remarkable comeback. Still bitter about Europe but he's guided us well there and has made us one of Europe's best in CL. Max is a CHAMP!!!
on the 25th April, 2016 at 2:47pm
Not a befitting tribute to Allegri. He deserves so much more praise for what he has done for Juve. His ability to read games and change tactics during various stages of games proves he's a special coach.We wish him many more years of success with Juve and hopefully he'll be rewarded with the marquee signings he so much deserves
on the 25th April, 2016 at 2:27pm

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