BLOG ITALIA
Thursday April 17 2014
The end of the Bianconero beginning

After achieving so much and with more success on its way, Jeremy Lim ponders whether Juventus can take the next steps to remain top of the pile.

The dates are slowly but surely being struck off the calendar as Juventus continue their inexorable push to a memorable finish at the end of the season. As things stand, the Bianconeri are well underway to clinching a historic treble of Scudetti and lofting their first European trophy in almost two decades.

Fires lit in the team by Antonio Conte still inspire feats well into a third term in charge, as the Italian champions single-mindedly collect win after win. Exhaustion and injuries have not diminished the 44-year-old’s ability to draw on the individual heroics of his players to great reliability either, even when the 2-0 victory at Udinese was Juve’s 48th game this term.

Adversity just seems to drive the club on. In fact, the Turin juggernaut so emphatically threaten to do the double that no one has felt inclined to ask yet - what happens after?

On the heels of the current campaign’s epic heights, risk of stagnation is a consideration that has failed to infiltrate the minds of many of the club faithful. Whilst it is remote, given the current crop of players residing at Vinovo, their latest triumphs could mean a tipping point in terms of their growth. Can they cement their transformation into a member of Europe’s elite here on? Or will they lament falling by the wayside as Inter were guilty of at the turn of the decade, after years of domestic dominance and the last hurrah that was the treble?

Signs are encouraging, however. Even in the midst of a milestone season, Conte sees fit to stress how Juve cannot take their foot off the pedal, citing their dismal record before he took over: “Anyone who thinks everything is easy just because we are Juventus is deeply wrong. There is always a journey to go through. We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and not forget three years ago this team wasn’t even in the Europa League.”

Present or future, he’s rightfully aware of the dangers a dip in appetite, regardless of silverware, poses. The message that the outfit must never grow too used to being on top is best heeded. Were Conte to lose the ability to will his men to their successes or the squad less than completely ingrained with his winning mentality then they may have faltered by now, as Gianluigi Buffon confirms.

“He has brought a lot this year on a motivational level, because it can be argued that after two Scudetti, the third is not so clear cut, because in some groups there can be a sense of fulfilment that can only cause issues,” the goalkeeper said.

While the Coach’s input is fundamental in that regard, so have latest imports Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente turned out to be. Securing new blood has been vital to boosting the competitive edge enjoyed in recent campaigns and ensuring Juventus maintain the drive to move on to new plains. It is the reason Buffon also places unreserved faith in the management’s ability to navigate what may be the biggest close season of upheaval in recent times - a period that may even see the departure of Paul Pogba abroad in a mega transfer deal.

“I also say that the directors at Juventus, together with the President, have always made very prudent decisions and have hardly put a step wrong. That will again be the case this time,” the captain insisted. If the club can likewise transmit such assurances when it comes time to bestow Buffon’s and Andrea Pirlo’s heirs at the end of their illustrious Turin careers, then transition to the future will be made all the more smoother.

There is certainty the Old Lady’s resolve will be tested incessantly on the transfer front and on the pitch in the months following this remarkable season. Yet there is equal assurance resting on her laurels is not part of Juventus’ agenda ahead, and that will prove to be their strongest tonic moving on. Their climb does not stop here.

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Have your say...
@ 31 Sul Campo

I probably sound like a spoilt brat as Juve are on the verge of winning their 3rd straight scudetto, yet it sounds like I'm moaning. I'm not, I just don't think we play the best brand of football, and despite our dominance in Serie A, we sometimes make hard work of wins. For us to step up a level in Europe, we need a bit more speed, flair and width so we can mix up our formations. The 3-5-2 in Serie A works fine, but in Europe (CL) we have been found out
on the 22nd April, 2014 at 11:55am
@onofrio
In signing Pirlo, Pogba, Llorente and Tevez, we paid around €10m. These are world-class signings. If we were to bring in another 4 players of equal quality by sending that much next year, we'd be devestating indeed. I trust that the staff knows what it's doing and will reinforce accordingly.
The comparison to Inter is laughable...they invested heavily, put nothing in place for the future and amassed huge debt. Juve have lots of promising youngsters on the books. The future is bright...
on the 20th April, 2014 at 6:08pm
I can't believe the people on here who question Conte's coaching ability.

He took Juve from scrap heap finishing 7th 2 years in a row. Which for them is rock bottom. Now he has (is) leading them to 3 scudettos in a row including an unbeaten season and breaking records left right and centre.

Some people need to pull their head in. He knows he doesnt have a team capable of Europeon success, hence he plays the 2nds team. Now that it is semis he is very serious. An absolute legend. Listen to what
on the 19th April, 2014 at 11:34am
I have reasons to believe serie a will be more competitive next year.Teams like Napoli and Fiorentina will manage to get the signing required and this year provide enough insight for their managers to do better both at Italy and Europe.That by itself gives the current top 2 a warning for doing the necessary acquisitions. Capello hit the nail right on the head by
mentioning that other team than Juve only replaced their players but Juve kept their squad and at the same time addednew reinforcemets
on the 19th April, 2014 at 2:41am
people keep saying juve have had it easy, for 3 years??? they have been consistent, beat whats been put in front of them, teams have had time to look at them and adapt, teams come and park the bus, and they still find a way, please give credit where it is due, Juve have played with intensity, creativity and hunger, their fitness has impressed me most and it means they can grind out results, they have made it easier for themselves by working hard, and Conte preparing well for games
on the 18th April, 2014 at 4:31pm
We have to invest to step up to the next level now. Signing free transfers is shrewd business but it won't bring success in Europe. Heavy investment is required in top quality players. I know money is tight in Italy but surely winning the league 3 years running and owning their own stadium should have funds available. We need to change our personel too and formation too. We need more speed,flair and width. Too rigid with the 3-5-2
on the 18th April, 2014 at 8:02am
fiorentina will be the one with the shot at scudetto next year. this year they were slightly unfortunate due to injuries to two main strikers and had to play youngsters .Refreeing mistakes are another reason why we are fourth position.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 7:15am
I wonder that purpose of this blog... Juventus is diffenent team, which faced such dilemma around 80-90 years ago.

If the blog write about Roma, Napoli and others, I will understand
on the 18th April, 2014 at 3:10am
@arrigo

are you trying to say now that there are better teams to compete with juve and push them all the way, that now they will perform better in europe?

you are obviously hinting that juve are going to start declining but surely with more competition it will make juve stronger and hungrier. sure they may not win the league every year but they will become better and be more tested so that they are ready for champions league.

anyhow only juve have own stadium so nobody is getting near atm.
on the 18th April, 2014 at 12:48am
I respect juve for what they have done over the last couple of years. you need to win at home before looking abroad. yet, i dont not share this view of juve only beginning. they have had it easy for 3 years now and this is where it will begin to end with Roma and Napoli and Fiorentina who will begin to screw that nut. This article is juve obsessed when it does not even mention its rivals. utter ignorance and arrogance.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:04pm
@anonymous

it means that juve did well without european football as they won league unbeaten in 2010/11. roma are also without european football and doing well. so are liverpool.

no european football means coach gets whole week to drill players with tactics and players should be more fit and ready for games.so its easier to do well in this scenario.

just saying that roma are good but i dont know how good they really are until they also have to play every 3-4 days like juve, napoli and even AC
on the 17th April, 2014 at 8:27pm
No one is going to attack you old lady, because that's what your are. Anyways your entitled to your opinion even if it is as ludicrous as predicting the future and calling it a fact.

Juve did well without Euro footy aswell, what is that supposed to mean?
on the 17th April, 2014 at 7:35pm
roma will struggle next season end of.

juve also did well without euro football. better than roma- we were unbeaten and won the league against a milan with zlatan who was on record of never losing a league title.

when roma play game every 3-4 days, we'll see how good you really are.

if juve get some wide attackers and left back you will see a juve belonging with the champions league elite.

attack me roma fans, attack me. you know you want to!

hahahhahahaha
on the 17th April, 2014 at 6:23pm
Nothing is over yet, we can't afford any slip up's in the league or europe. If all goes well though the next step has to be consistently doing well in the CL, anything less than the QF's has to be considered a failure for a club like us.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 5:52pm
How do you know Roma wont be as good next season, just because Juve cant compete in the CL does not make it universal among those who qualify for European footy. Roma will most likely spend big and reinforce for CL footy so the argument that more games mean more fatigued players does not stick, it does if you do nor know how to manage your squad properly. Also do Juve have 50% of the worlds best young players? Remind me does Sanabria, Paredes. Icardi, Insigne, destro among others belong to Juve?
on the 17th April, 2014 at 4:47pm
As long as Conte (and any Serie A manager) keeps using the outdated and ineffective 3-5-2 system, he will never do well in Europe against tough competition.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 3:24pm
I'm not convinced Conte is a top manager, Juve haven't had much competition in Serie A recently.

In the Champions League, his record isn't any better than that serial euro flop Mancini, and he messed up an easy group this season.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 1:52pm
If any player does start to take their foot off the gas and become complacent, then Conte should move them on. This is one of the things that I liked best about Ferguson: he always wanted hungry players & I think that Conte is the same. IMO, for Juve to get stronger in Europe, they need more attacking midfielders/wingers. That way, Conte will have greater tactical options. Should Conte leave, then Juve should look at Klopp or Simeone.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 12:29pm
I think the focus will definitely shift from the serie a to the UCL next year although getin more players and better ones will still leave a decent sized gap IMO, between us and the rest,not to mention roma won't be as good seein as theyll play more than once a week.The fact that we are one of the biggest clubs in the world let alone italy and are the only italian team to have very forward thinking such as our own club and at least 50% of all the biggest up and coming stars the future looks gd
on the 17th April, 2014 at 12:02pm
Roma and Napoli seem to have spending power that Juve don't have, next season will see some big changes, Roma have been amazing this season, Juve have set records and yet are only just out in front really, Napoli will spend heavy (as Rafa does wherever he is) and strengthen their squad. Rafa pretends that he makes the best of a modest situation, at Liverpool he spent a fortune, just like he has done with Napoli (in a short time), and when its not going well his solution is throw more money at it
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:59am
The league still hangs in the balance for me, Juve have not played well in a number of months, 1 slip will let Roma in Europa league is by no means a given, but the reality is, teams sniffing around after Pogba, Vidal etc, Italian teams can't compete financially, the draw to the league is not what it was, it will be time before Juve or any Italian team starts to make regular appearances in the semi finals and finals of Europe. But I still love watching Italian footy
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:56am
the thing is although we have won 3 titles in a row and you could imagine a team getting a bit relaxed we have really done nothing yet in Europe and the EL is not enough (obviously) for us so there is still a ways to go,not to mention what i would imagine to be a big team change across the board this summer to be able to play the 4-3-3.As always new faces mean more competition because you have new players who wan to prove themselves to the club and its fans.
on the 17th April, 2014 at 11:56am

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