Juventus’ former manager Max Allegri was present in Sky Sports studio, his first appearance in years. Here’s what he had to say.
On Italian Football
“I think in Italian football, having heard allcomments on European elimination, need to reflect. People used to see me as some sort of antidote to those who love beautiful football, but there needs to be a balance in all things. Not all of it is to be thrown in the bin.”
“What I think is we need to put players back in the centre of the game. A coach organises a team, but then we complain when we face teams in Europe who pass the ball at 100 km/h. We need to ask ourselves questions here.”
“It saddens me, but in Italy it’s almost as if players have become an instrument to prove the coach is good. Or even just players are instruments we mould in order to gain value. That’s not what it should be.”
“When you see that the best players in our league are the older ones like Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic… We need to stop for a moment and think about this.”
On his Juventus exit
“There were differences of opinion. The hierarchy, so the President, Paratici and Nedved, decided to make a change. The end of that final season was the logical conclusion of the rapport between Juventus and me.”
“It was a great alchemy for five years, so many elements just clicked, we made some great moves on the transfer market, we had fun.”
“As everyone knows, we came to a natural end of things at Juventus. In Italy, we tend to look at the negative things and we should focus on the positive.”
“For example, today Benevento and deserve credit for the win against Juve, it’s not just Juve’s ‘fault’ for losing.”
“I remain very fond of Juventus, and on a professional level I really do get passionate about these clubs where I work, I did the same at Milan and Cagliari before that.”
Did Real Madrid really want him?
“Yes Real Madrid called me three years ago, but I had promised to Juventus that I would remain for another year.”
A short story about Dani Alves:
“I learned a great deal from my players. I had Dani Alves, we played the Coppa semifinal vs Napoli, at one point I introduced him for a 5 man defence.”
“After 5 minutes, he said, let me man-mark Insigne, he’s causing the problems. He was absolutely right and I let him do it.”
“Our Final against Real Madrid was very balanced, but we lost because we defended worse than Real Madrid. When two teams are very evenly-matched, ultimately the one that stops the other scoring will have the advantage.”
“Juve is building a good team, they have won the SuperCoppa and if they win the Coppa Italia it will be a positive year… Some calm is needed.”
“We need some calm and patience, players aren’t like cars that gets broken and you just replace it smoothly… It’s normal to go some less good times.”
“Juve has quality, but Barzagli has retired, Chiellini plays less… It’s the soul of the team that needs to be rebuilt, we need to find players with certain characteristics.”
“In my opinion, Bentancur can’t play in front of the defense. He can do it for one game but it can’t be his usual role.”
“Dybala. When he first arrived from Palermo, I told him, you cannot play as a CF at Juventus.”
“At Palermo, you were a centre-forward, but you started 50 metres from the goal. You need to go into a deeper role, because otherwise the whole balance of the team will be off.”
“Dybala is very smart and playing next a center forward makes him more exceptional, he had two great seasons playing in that role… Juve missed him so much this season.”
Some stories from the past:
The scene in Carpi?
“I shouted “don’t ruin my vacations!”, the game was just before Christmas!”
“At Juventus when you are 1-0 up and you have the ball at 90′ you keep it, there’s no need to make it 2-0.”
“We play with Frosinone, at 93” Dybala takes a corner, dribbles and loses the ball: corner and goal. He was in his second match at Juventus: here that ball on 1- 0 you keep it, there is no need to make it 2-0 “.
“Poor Mandzukic… Playing with Ronaldo I made him run more than he did his entire career.”
Barzagli and Chiellini
“When Chiellini & Barzagli defended two-vs-two in training, you could see how much they loved defending… That was extraordinary stuff.”
His 2017 Juventus
“Higuain-Dybala-Cuadrado on the right side was like opening the window in an airless room… When I saw the players smile I knew I found the ideal solution.”
On playing from the back
“The first time I arrived at Juve it was playing in Chievo, I saw the ball possession data and Buffon one minute and 39 seconds while a midfilder had 45 seconds.”
“So as the democratic person I am, I told the team that either they would no longer pass the ball to Buffon or I would make them play without a goalkeeper.”
“In all things you need balance, you can also play from behind but with balance. I always told Buffon and the defenders that they shouldn’t be ashamed to just shoot the ball away when needed.”
Going back to Juve?
“Pirlo is doing a good job in my opinion. In the future? I don’t know, it’s impossible to know.”
“Ronaldo or Messi? They’re different: one is more powerful, the other is bigger.”
“3 or 4-man defence? No one has won the Champions League playing with 3 at the back.”
“Iniesta or Pirlo? Pirlo because I coached him.”
“Suarez or Morata? Suarez, for his career.”
How can you explain how to be a coach?
“There are two types, the one who does a certain job up until Saturday, but the Sunday (the game) is a totally different role. Dealing with the unpredictable elements, the unknown, that is a different skillset entirely.”
“Talking to individual players, punishing or not punishing, that’s something you can’t teach. There are no books that say you should substitute this player and bring in another. It’s on and off the pitch, there are things you can’t learn from a course.”
“The coach must put himself at the service of the players, if you become good it’s thanks to the players who make you win games.”
“I have lost games, I hope a few. The best coach is the one who makes you lose the least. You need to have common sense as in all trades.”
Juve vs Milan?
“Juve and Milan are teams with opposite philosophies: Berlusconi is a showman while Juve had the most powerful family in Italy behind them… When I arrived at Milan they haven’t won a Scudetto for years but they have won in Europe, at Juve it was the opposite.”
*Some of the quotes are from Football-Italia, special thanks to them.