How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save his job and revive Juventus ahead of Serie A showdown with leaders Napoli

How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save his job and revive Juventus ahead of Serie A showdown with leaders Napoli

How Massimiliano Allegri managed to save his job and revive Juventus ahead of Serie A showdown with leaders Napoli

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

Allegri’s dismissal seemed inevitable, but the club decided to trust the manager again. On October 8, the Bianconeri lost at the San Siro to AC Milan, but from then on they won every Serie A clash, all eight, and conceded no goals.

But how does Allegri manage to turn the tide ahead of Friday’s key 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 recalled to the club in the summer of 2021 after a two-year hiatus from training. Juventus won trophies with Maurizio Sarri (a Scudetto) and Andrea Pirlo (a Coppa Italia and a Super Cup) but the feeling around the club was different and Allegri was recalled by chairman Andrea Agnelli to oversee a new cycle. Juventus’ motto is ‘winning is not important, it’s the only thing that matters’, and there is no better manager than Allegri who can embrace their idea of ​​winning.

Over the past few years, he’s said many times that the winner is the one who’s remembered at the end of the day, and it doesn’t matter how you achieve that success. Many former players and commentators have criticized this way of thinking but in the end it was he who lifted the Scudetto time and time again, as he won five Serie A titles in a row from 2015 to 2019. And that has makes him a serial. winner. When he returned in the summer of 2021, things were different. Juventus lost their crown to Inter Milan for the first time in nine years and the feeling was that Allegri needed to restore the winning spirit to the environment. The first season was difficult for several reasons, in particular 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 have risen for the second season under Allegri after his return.

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

The football they play isn’t particularly entertaining, that’s for sure, but at least the results are coming in and that’s what Allegri matters. With Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic still injured and Angel Di Maria not in top form, Allegri was counting on the return of Federico Chiesa and a few unexpected key players. Brazilian defender Danilo has become a regular starter and he also captained in the last Serie A game against Udinese when he scored the winning goal minutes before the final whistle.

The American international Weston McKennie, despite the interest of several European clubs, was also a starter and Allegri played him in different roles: as a winger but also as a central midfielder alongside Adrien Rabiot and Manual 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 a lingering groin pain which prevents him to play regularly. Allegri was counting on the players he knew he could trust in the toughest moment since joining Juventus. And it worked. On Friday against Napoli, we will find out if that was also enough to become a Scudetto contender for the 2022-23 season.

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