Massimiliano Allegri's grand plan to put Juventus back on top
Massimiliano Allegri’s grand plan to put Juventus back on top: Do away with tiki-taka football, make Paulo Dybala the focal point of the attack and Cristiano Ronaldo will NO longer be untouchable in quest for the title
- Juventus did away with rookie boss Andrea Pirlo after just one season in charge
- They brought back Massimiliano Allegri with a view to reclaiming the title
- Allegri is firm but fair and he won’t make concessions for Cristiano Ronaldo
- Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa will get starring roles under the returning boss
The football of Massimiliano Allegri is not widely appreciated by the fans but it is extremely simple, and rather serious.
For Juventus – a club who suffered the ultimate downfall last season and very nearly missed out on the Champions League – it is needed.
The Tuscan coach is an enemy of the tiki-taka philosophers. Allegri hates the tactical exasperation of Pep Guardiola and Maurizio Sarri but loves Italian football, made up of pressing, concentrated defense and fast counter-attacks.
His mantra is to both defend and attack very quickly, keeping all departments together without asking too many things from players who must always be free to express themselves.
Max Allegri does not care for the aesthetics of football but has a burning desire to win
Juventus chose him because only Allegri is able to manage a team full of players but poor in tactical concepts.
With Sarri and Andrea Pirlo before him it was possible to ascertain the failure of the idea of a football spectacle applied to the Juventus world, because in Turin you must first of all win and bring trophies on the showcase at the end of each year.
The DNA of Juventus prioritises the victory and not the entertainment factor out on the pitch. To have that kind of show, fans will have to go to the circus or the cinema but not to the Allianz Stadium.
If Allegri manages to restore identity and hunger to the team, Juve will have a complete facelift and return to a championship-dominating side, forgetting the bad season experienced with Pirlo looking glum and frustrated on the bench.
The veteran boss has a plan in motion to put Juve back onto its perch, and Sportsmail has taken a look at some of the most crucial areas.
This new-look Juventus will have Paulo Dybala back at the centre of the attack as Allegri wishes to confirm the No 10 as a fundamental element in his new chapter in Turin.
On the day of his second presentation as Juve coach, Allegri explained the importance of Dybala in the type of games that the club have come to struggle with in Serie A.
Paulo Dybala will once again become the main man up front for the Serie A giants
He said: ‘Paulo is a player with 25 goals a year, he shoots very well.
‘I left [Dybala] a boy when I left and today I found a man. Dybala at Juventus is the second most experienced star after Chiellini, so he will be the vice captain. Leo [Bonucci] went to Milan for a year, so if he wants the armband he has to buy it.
‘When he returned he became last, now he is climbing positions, but this Leo knows it.’ With these words Allegri earned the respect of Dybala who today is the most important player in Juve’s attacking trident.
This will soon be cemented by the imminent renewal of his contract until 2026 and the looming exit of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will depart Juventus at the age of almost 37 at the end of the year.
Allegri showed his no-nonsense approach by saying Bonucci slipped down the hierarchy
Versatile Locatelli is the missing piece
Allegri likes to define himself as a coach who is very attentive to the financial needs and limitations of the clubs he coaches.
In the current transfer market he never demanded the purchase of a top player but asked to be able to work with Manuel Locatelli from the very first meeting the club held with him regarding his return to Turin.
The former Sassuolo star is one of the few Italian players able to play as a half winger, as a playmaker and as a standard central midfielder.
The signing of Manuel Locatelli (left) was something Allegri insisted upon from day one
His signing took place with an innovative formula: Locatelli will in fact be on free loan to Juventus for two years and only in June 2023 will the club pay around £30m (€35m) for his final purchase (€25m plus €12.5m in bonuses).
At the moment Juventus does not have much money to spend on the market and in November 2021 the Agnelli family will carry out a financial capital increase of around €400m (£343m).
Until that date the team will not be able to make big purchases in the transfer market.
For Allegri it is important to have players capable of expressing themselves 100 per cent in multiple roles and the only player able to satisfy his requests has been purchased.
Locatelli will be fundamental in the new team coached by Allegri because his versatility will allow Juventus to act like that of a chameleon, changing their colours at a moment’s notice with different tactical layouts and ways of playing in many games.
The versatile star made a huge impression when playing for Italy at Euro 2020
Allegri applies his ‘Corto muso’ horse racing strategy to football
Between 2014 and 2019 in Turin, Allegri won five league titles, two Super Cups and four Italian Cups, as well as playing two Champions League finals.
The president has returned to him because he wants to win again, because he wants to open a new round of victories. Allegri’s best resource is obtaining results with minimal energy effort.
On April 14, 2019, a historic press conference was held in which Allegri made everyone understand his football philosophy, extrapolated from horse racing, a sport of which he has a lifelong passion after spending his childhood with his grandfather betting on horses.
He revealed that his only goal is to win with minimal effort. Juventus on this day in question lost the match against Spal, with Allegri having decided to field an unprecedented line up.
Several reserve players of the second team were played to preserve the top players in view of the decisive Champions League match against Ajax, with Juve then aiming for the semi-finals.
Juve took a risk with the untested Andrea Pirlo in a move which ultimately proved to fail
Allegri in the press conference immediately after the match said that the advantage of points in Serie A must be exploited.
To underline his concept, Allegri used a metaphor: in horse racing, the horse that wins the race can reach the photo finish even a few millimeters before the opponent, simply by putting his muzzle in front.
From that moment Allegri became king of the web with the phrase ‘Corto muso’ to indicate the possibility of winning even for a single point.
Pirlo’s plan ripped up with Chiesa’s position change
Allegri obsessively asks the team to avoid playing the ball like a pinball machine, building the action on the pitch looking forward and not back.
Allegri’s return also led to numerous tactical changes at Juventus. The most relevant is certainly the one linked to Federico Chiesa. Allegri’s philosophy is very different from Andrea Pirlo’s and his first move was to return Chiesa’s tactical comfort zone of the right wing.
Federico Chiesa is back in a familiar role and will be a crucial player for the club this season
On the first day of training, the coach was clear in asking Dejan Kulusevski to play on the left and Chiesa to play on the right, as he has always done with Italy and Fiorentina previously.
One of the main methods imposed by Allegri to return to winning the Scudetto will be to give back to all players, and in particular to Federico Chiesa, the possibility of being used in their natural roles.
Ronaldo no longer the main man
With Allegri, Cristiano Ronaldo will probably experience a season very similar to the last he experienced in Madrid with Zidane as coach.
In this new season the Portuguese talisman will not be able to take advantage of previous bonuses and will no longer be an untouchable player, which may come as a shock to the system.
Allegri’s rules are clear and were also expressed in the presentation press conference as the new Juventus coach.
Cristiano Ronaldo will have to make peace with the fact he is no longer the main man up front
He clearly stated: ‘Ronaldo will not take all the free kicks’. With Sarri and Pirlo the Portuguese player was the protagonist of every decision but with Allegri he will return to being important but no longer fundamental.
The second life of the Madeira star will certainly be different from that lived in previous seasons and a few days of rest here and there will also come his way.
The choices will be made by the coaching staff and every decision will be made in the interest of the club, as well as Ronaldo’s health conditions.
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