Serie A Coach of the Season 2015-16
Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus
If he hadn't already won over the doubters in his first season, Max Allegri certainly steered the Bianconeri ship through troubled waters, writes Adam Digby.
Much has already been said about the remarkable run which delivered a fifth-consecutive Serie A title for Juventus, with many of the players receiving widespread praise for the roles they played in winning an astonishing 25 times in 26 matches from October to May. Gigi Buffon broke Sebastiano Rossi’s record for minutes without conceding a goal, the club captain and the defenders in front of him rightly lauded for the accomplishment.
Paul Pogba continued to improve and Paulo Dybala has been compared to Omar Sivori for his immediate impact in Bianconero, while fellow new signings Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and Alex Sandro all shone at various times.
But as the Juventus squad began to rack up victories and slowly climb back into title contention, Max Allegri arguably proved to be the crucial factor in reversing the fortunes of a team who won just three of their first 10 league fixtures.
Undoubtedly deserving Coach of the Year honours for the way in which he managed the side, he was able to clinch the title despite having to integrate so many new players and losing three major stars. The Livorno native handled that difficult task extremely well, the current form of Dybala and Daniele Rugani highlighting the skilful manner in which they have been developed under his watchful eye despite moans he was holding them back.
Like seemingly everyone in Serie A this term however, Allegri also made mistakes and his team selection in the early weeks contributed to some of Juve’s unexpected losses. Yet he was the calming influence the Old Lady needed, carefully plotting her route to glory when many doubted she could once again lift Lo Scudetto. He also raised the roof when needed, as seen by his coat-flinging antics in the 3-2 win over Carpi.
The winning streak began with a last-minute goal against cross-town rivals Torino, Juan Cuadrado bundling home a cross from Alex Sandro after both men had been sent on from the bench by Allegri. It was one of many game-changing moves from the Coach, with matches against Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Fiorentina all swung by substitutes, as was the title-deciding clash with Napoli when Simone Zaza smashed home a late winner.
Tactically excellent and surely the reason the Bianconeri have begun to enjoy success in Europe, the former Milan boss was recently rewarded with a new two-year contract. “Last year Allegri enjoyed a very important season and this year he confirmed that he is a great Coach,” said Juventus patron John Elkann. “Our future is with him, and we have a lot of faith in what is still to come.”
That is a daunting prospect for the rest of Serie A, as the team at his disposal is already dominating despite undergoing so many changes last year. There is little doubt that Mr Allegri is the perfect man to guide them.