How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save a job, revive Juventus ahead of the Serie A clash with leaders Napoli

How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save a job, revive Juventus ahead of the Serie A clash with leaders Napoli

How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save a job, revive Juventus ahead of the Serie A clash with leaders Napoli

A few weeks before the 2022 World Cup, it seemed that the position of Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was more than questionable. The Bianconeri started the season poorly with disappointing results in both Serie A and the Champions League. The European trip was a disaster as Allegri’s side were knocked out in the group stage, losing twice to Benfica and Paris Saint Germain, as well as away to Maccabi Haifa. Five defeats and only one home win against an Israeli team drew much criticism around the Italian manager. Things weren’t good enough in the domestic league either, with Juventus losing away to newly promoted AC Monza on 15 September.

The sacking of Allegri seemed inevitable, but the club decided to trust the coach again. On October 8, the Bianconeri lost at the San Siro to AC Milan, but since then they have won all their Serie A matches, all eight, and have not conceded a single goal.

But how does Allegri manage to turn things around ahead of Friday’s crucial Scudetto clash against Serie A leaders Napoli?

Allegri has always been considered one of the most successful Italian coaches. This is the main reason why he was called back to the club in the summer of 2021 after a two-year break from coaching. Juventus won trophies with both Maurizio Sarri (one Scudetto) and Andrea Pirlo (one Coppa Italia and one Super Cup), but the atmosphere around the club was different and Allegri was called back by president Andrea Agnelli to oversee the new cycle. The motto of Juventus is: “Winning is not important, only it matters”. There is no better coach than Allegri who could embrace their idea of ​​winning.

Over the years, he has repeatedly said that the winner is the one who is remembered at the end of the day, and it does not matter how this success is achieved. Many former players and commentators criticized this way of thinking, but in the end it was he who lifted the Scudetto many times, winning five Serie A titles in a row between 2015 and 2019. And that made him a serial winner. When he returned in the summer of 2021, things turned out differently. Juventus had lost the crown to Inter Milan for the first time in nine years, and it seemed Allegri needed to restore the winning spirit in the community. The first season was difficult for many reasons, not least because Cristiano Ronaldo left a few days before the end of the transfer window and the club did not have time to replace him. Juventus managed to qualify for the Champions League, but expectations for a second season under Allegri increased after his return.

The start of the 2022-23 season wasn’t good enough, but after losing to AC Milan in October, things changed drastically. Juventus are now second in the league, seven points behind Napoli, and will have a chance to resume the race for the Scudetto on Friday. The Italian coach, despite the injuries of many key players, decided to switch from a four-man defense to a three-man defense, and since then Juventus have not conceded a single goal in Serie A.

The football they play is certainly not fun, but at least the results are coming and that is the most important thing for Allegri. With Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic still injured and Angel Di Maria not at his best, Allegri was hoping for the return of Federico Chiesa and some unexpected key players. Brazilian defender Danilo became a regular starter and also captained the final Serie A match against Udinese when he scored the winning goal minutes before the final whistle.

American international Weston McKennie, despite the interest of many European clubs, was also a starter and Allegri played him in various roles: as a winger, but also as a central midfielder alongside Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli. Former Napoli striker Arek Milik has also become a starter and already has seven goals this season, helping to cope with the absence of Vlahovic, who is still recovering from persistent groin pain that prevents him from playing regularly. Allegri counted on players he could trust in the most difficult moment since he returned to Juventus. And it worked. We’ll find out on Friday against Napoli if that was enough to be a Scudetto contender for the 2022-23 season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *