What to expect from Allegri’s second stint at Juventus

by | Jul 27, 2021 10:19

Massimiliano Allegri will be unveiled as the new Juventus coach today and Kaustubh Pandey takes a look at what we must expect from the Tuscan’s second spell in Turin.

For the third time in three years, Juventus are heading into a new season with a new coach. Massimiliano Allegri has returned to the club, signing a four-year deal in Turin, coming back in town after Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo’s reigns.

It’s become a regular sight for Juventus fans, who’ve seen their club appoint managers with a long-term approach, only for the Bianconeri to sack them in the short-term. The season has started well, as the Old Lady picked up a 3-1 win over Cesena in a friendly encounter this past weekend, but that was just little anticipation of what we can expect from the Bianconeri in 2021-22.

In some ways, Juventus have prolonged their transition and now find themselves in the middle of it under a coach who had seen it come in 2019. Before he left the Old Lady in 2019, Allegri had been vocal about the squad needing big chances and two years on, he now finds himself managing them.

If anything, Allegri is the ideal man to guide the Bianconeri through the impending transition, which requires a pragmatists coach who can make the most of what they have in the squad, avoiding tactical complexities. Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo were, perhaps, the opposite.

Allegri and transitions aren’t strangers. At Milan, the Tuscan tactician had to oversee the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva era who had joined PSG. Club legends Clarence Seedorf, Pippo Inzaghi, Alessandro Nesta and Rino Gattuso, had retired, making his task even harder. A new spine was coming through and Allegri had the whole burden on his shoulders to tide through these changes. The club had lost massive characters, influential players who proved to be irreplaceable.

Despite criticism, he helped the Rossoneri finish third in the 2012-13 campaign. The season had started off poorly, but from the turn of the year until the end of the campaign, Milan lost just once in the league. Following Allegri’s exit, Milan fell off a cliff and never qualified for the Champions League until this past season.

There can still be criticisms about some elements of how Allegri managed that period, but the transition at Juve isn’t of the same nature. It’s a club that has lost Fabio Paratici to Tottenham, with Federico Cherubini coming in to impose a new vision at the club. Juve are stepping away from their supposed long-term approach that they tried and failed under Sarri and Pirlo. There are big decisions to be made, including whether or not to keep Cristiano Ronaldo.

Pirlo did a decent job at somehow creating a new spine for the team. American Weston McKennie and Federico Chiesa did well under Pirlo and are expected to improve under Allegri. Dejan Kulusevski wasn’t impressive, but he has the characteristics to become a key member under Max. The full-back areas need engineering and Matthijs de Ligt needs to hit new levels but will have one more season to learn from Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini who is expected to sign a new deal with The Bianconeri upon his return from holidays. Defensive solidity will be key to become title contenders again, while Paulo Dybala’s career needs to be resurrected after an injury-hit 2020-21 campaign.

During Allegri’s previous Juventus spell, tactical versatility became a regular sight in Turin. His side showed the nous to change shapes based on the demands of the situation. They could use a 3-5-2 but being able to switch to a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. Back in 2017, when Mario Mandzukic seemed like a fish out of the water as Gonzalo Higuain occupied the striker role, Allegri’s pragmatism made sure that the Croatian played out wide regularly, helping Juventus reach the second Champions League Final of his first tenure at the Allianz Stadium.

It was a hallmark of Allegri’s ability to curate systems on the basis of the strengths of his best players. It is the exact opposite of someone like Sarri, who wants players suitable for his complex system. Allegri’s ways have worked out well in the past with the Bianconeri and they need more of the same now. It does seem as if Juve realised the value of the Tuscan’s approach only once he had left.

Winning the Champions League on his return may be a bridge too far, but based on what he has already, Allegri will curate a variety of systems and his project will only grow with time. If anything, Juventus need to return to be competitive in Serie A and not struggle as much as they did last season to finish top four. They now have the best-paid coach in Serie A and the only one who has seemed able to adapt to the management’s lack of vision over the last few seasons, bringing titles rather than further problems.

16 Comments

  1. martinn

    champions league well out of our reach this year. when we replace ronaldo we can be a lot more flexible and build the final part of our future team, a very solid Serie A showing is expected.

  2. CG

    Article is spot on. I’m not a fan of bringing back coaches or players, but Allegri was realistically the only one who could take over. I’m not convinced at Zidane out of Madrid, nor with Guardiola without big money (and Iniesta and Messi) behind him. Conte burned his bridges. Pirlo was just too inexperienced. I just hope that Allegri finds a balance, and my big concern is the Ronaldo disrupts that balance. We definitely need another left back and proper right back, as well as a world class midfielder. Hopefully, with the lack of funds, that can still arrive. It’s going to be interesting. Let’s see.

  3. ajetunmobi idowu

    my opinion is we need another left back and a very good midfielder Allegri need too change his style of play ronaldo need too leave whit him around we can”t do well at the champions league

  4. OnlyJuveCannotUseRonaldo

    I am very excited to see how Allegri utilizes one of the hottest attacking players in Europe right now, Fede Chiesa, as a right back!! Under King Allegri, who needs beautiful-attacking football anyway??? I can finally enjoy those moments when our mighty Juventus play a super boring, dead, uninspiring, stiff, defensive football after scoring one goal, even when against minnows! It always feels good to be a joke in Europe! Forza Juve, Forza Andrea Agnelli!

  5. Carlo

    Martinn, I agree 100%. Unless something drastic and unexpected happens in the transfer market, I don’t see us winning the Champ League. We’ll just have to hope for yet another serie A title (and thus make our scudetto/Champ League ratio even worse…..).

  6. JImmy_stallion

    I believe when they let Allegri go it was the right move (Sarri/Pirlo replacing was wrong) and it is the right move to bring him back now. The talent is there, you just need a coach to find a formation, system, and man/game management to lead it. I think the key this year will be Ronaldo buy in. He will be going into his last world cup and needs to understand he can not play 90 mins every 3 games. Accept being subbed out at times.

  7. who me ?

    i predict the return coach curse…Lippi at Nazionale in 2010, Mourinho 2ND spell with Chelsea. Allegri may be let go halfway through season. things just wont go right.

  8. Geedup

    One of the biggest gambles for a manager is returning to a club where you exceeded expectations in your 1st stint. It’s very rare for managers to be successful at their 2nd stint with a former club. Most times if the managers are unable to bring the same level of success within 2 seasons, they’re sacked or forced to leave – Zidane at Real, Mancini at Inter, Capello at Milan. Even Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea the season after winning the title in his 2nd stint. Lippi at Juve was a good example of a manager that had a successful 2nd stint but that was aided by the club bringing in Buffon, Thuram, Nedved and Camoranesi. Juve no longer have the same buying power and have to achieve success with what was pretty much the same squad of players that struggled last season. Inter are also in transition with Conte leaving and there wasn’t much of a gap with the other clubs so Allegri definitely has a shot at the league title. CL success would be less likely.

  9. Token Bubble

    I for one am happy that Allegri has returned (he should never have left in the first place IMO). It’ll be interesting to see how he sets up the team as he’s been hinting that his approach will be different going back into management by playing with more attacking, but let’s see what his squad looks like come the beginning of the season, so his approach will no doubt depend on that and how he see’s his players. I can’t see too many new faces being drafted to be honest but it’ll be interesting if he can get the best out of the likes of Sandro, Rabiot, Bentancur and Dybala, otherwise I see a pragmatic tactical approach. I personally think the CL will be beyond us this season, but I see no reason why Juve cannot mount a serious challenge once again on Serie A.

  10. That Dude

    Yeah, he’ll convert Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski to right-back, sell De Ligt because he is not yet 45 yo, buy Locatelli and let him rot on the bench (Pjanic FTW!). Because screw all young players, we’re Juventus. I love Allegri so much.

  11. El Cid

    @That Dude, You smell like bitter Milan fan in disguise.

  12. white Rabbit

    Allegri is the most successful manager we had in the recent years. He was the closest to bringing us to CL glory. Sometimes he does play defensive style of football I totally agree, but he also brings results and consistency something we didnt have in the two previous years. I felt so sad the day he left and when the majority of people on this site were trashing him, thinking Sarri would bring us CL glory and what happen to that? We cant even make it past the first round of the CL. I like to see my team wining against Porto, Lyon, Benevento. The inconsistency has hurt me the most over the past two years and I am looking forward to see some consistency again under Allegri. I think also that Allegri knows how to deal better with big name players and personalities then the previous two. You cant have players run the locker room and as much as I like Ronaldo he needs to be less selfish at time and understand that its a team sport. I love the way how Allegri went about with Bonucci who clearly has an ego problem. Sarri had no clue how to control the big players and Pirlo was just to quite and inexperienced. Anyways I am looking forward to this season and I cant wait to see how he lines up the attack. Cheers all my Juve fans

  13. Nasser the king Haji

    i see a punch of idiots talking about Ronaldo being a problem,well he is the biggest player Juv ever had in their history…i mean who would make such stats at 36 with 101 goals + 20+assists less than 3yrs! who…..in a defensive Juventus can make those stats at 36…exaclty only CR7…so be greatful he is the only consistency juv got…dybala was off for a whole season…CR7 has 5 UCL titles to his name…while juv cant touch it for 25yrs so its Ronaldo fault…how dare you…the day Juv learns to use CR7 the best way they win win everything in their path including UCL…as far as CR7 goes…PSG is waitinh in the corner..on top of that PSG has the best system which suits CR7 perfeclty they play attacking football..either ways its Juv”s loss

  14. That Dude

    @El Cid, nope, I am just a realistic old-timey Juve fan who based my comments on facts.

  15. EL CID

    @That Dude, speaking of realistic, i wonder who do you think the appropriate Juve coach to coach Juve this season?

    @Nasser, Ronaldo fan boy detected. Your aggressive words to defend Ronaldo is hilarious. I tell you what, his ego disrupt the team and he’s old and slow. It’s safe to say CR7 is FAILED PROJECT.

  16. TorreDG

    Juve is still a formidable team. The question offensively is can Dybala stay healthy and contribute by opening up the pitch for Chiesa & Ronaldo.Tactically they will improve as Allegri is a defensive minded coach that prefers a disciplined team that controls mistakes and the game.
    If Inter loses Lautauro and Lukuku they will be severely changed,furthermore Conte is gone and it will have a profound effect on Inter. Who’s left?
    Does Milan have the firepower to compete? Roma & Lazio will improve but can they reach Juve’s level,probably not. Napoli is financially hampered & injuries will effect the squad as they lack depth. That leaves Atalanta, can they lose Zapata and compete, well coached and motivated they are admirable but can they outduel the giant.doubtful.
    Juve will cruise to another Scudetto barring catastophic injuries.

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