I wanted to take some time to digest this loss and to get my thoughts in order after Juve's last game. In this letter I want to ask the Juve fans here for some patience. Last year you could see that the problem with the team was that it wasn't properly balanced. Diego will get the ball and look for the fullbacks to make the runs to then find Grosso on the left (no way) and Zebina punching a camera man. Melo could not make a 2 meter pass to save his life and Cannavaro was caught day dreaming one too many times.
Compare that to this team and their overall performance. Melo was playing very well against Bologna until we conceded and has been a great player this season, Aquilani has people that can make the runs and Chiellini had a good central partner until he was placed on the left wing where he is more inconsequential than effective. Marotta’s Juve is better than Secco’s Juve, I think that is clear for everyone. What some fail to realize is that Secco had four years with the team and he benefited from Moggi’s project (one that had 14 years to develop). Secco didn’t build a team that got us into 3rd and 2nd place in Serie A, Moggi did, and it was such a great team that it took 4 years for Secco to crush it to the ground in the way we saw last season.
The first thing I want to ask of my fellow Juventini is to forget about Moggi, he was a great director who knows lots about football, he might have been the best director that Juve ever had but he is not here anymore and I don’t think Juve ever want him back seeing that he is 74 years of age. The other thing we have to remember is he is not with the club anymore so he doesn’t know anything that goes on behind closed doors. He doesn’t know the transfer budget, he doesn’t know the salary budget and he doesn’t know what the club is going through as he did prior to 2006. From that position it is very easy to criticize, anyone can say: Juve should buy Kjaer, Ranocchia, Bonucci, Schelotto, Aquilani, Krasic, Balzaretti, and Dzeko. However after the transfer market has gone by it is clear that Juve couldn’t have afforded three champions, even if we didn’t spend 12m of Martinez. Champions don’t generally come in a free loan with an option to buy or for less than 15 m.
We should be grateful to him, but he is not the future. Juve is bigger than Moggi.
With the Moggi issue out of the way, I want to look at Marotta’s tenure in detail. Last year we had one of the oldest squads, compare that to our average age after the summer transfer market, 25.5; in the winter we got Toni, Matri, Barzagli and got rid of Amauri so I imagine we are still one of the youngest squads in the peninsula. The wage bill came down as well which makes the prospect of Juve not qualifying for CL less worrying than last year. Marotta built a team for our coach, something totally unheard of in Turin since 2006, he did this with the budget of a provincial squad. Also, all the loans with option to buy allow us to make changes depending on how the season goes and how the players respond. This to me is one of the best things Marotta has done. After Secco’s tenure we were stuck with players like Amauri and Grosso who had obscenely high salaries. With Marotta we don’t, we can send Marco Motta, and Pepe packing if we choose to and focus on refilling those places. If that is not a good market strategy I don’t know what is.
Two great players that fit the coach’s style of play. Reason for hope?
Del Neri must be also mentioned. The coach for some is tactically inflexible, if that is your opinion, I disagree but I am not going to argue. However, do you think it is a good idea to change the coach at this point? If so, who would you bring in? Juve are not going to win the Scudetto, no matter who our coach is, Champions League qualification is still a target but one that is not in our hands anymore. Will Lippi get us to the CL? I don’t know, but the thought of him starting Grosso at left back for the rest of the season is terrifying. Spalletti is an attack-minded coach, would Juve be better off with him seeing that we are conceding goals left, right, and center? I don’t think so. Capello might be the answer, but I doubt he will come to Juve unless we give him a huge salary (we don’t have the money) and we buy 2 or 3 champions (we don’t have the money). All sacking Del Neri will do is tell the players once again that this is not their fault, that losing to Lecce was the coach’s fault and that the Bologna loss was due only to poor tactics. Juve should have won both games with the players they had on the pitch, Juve should have won both games playing with 10 men. But the squad is too scared to go out and win.
Where does the mental fragility come from? Some of it is down to age, Sorensen can’t shake off a bad start to the game the way that ADP can. Some of it is the fans putting pressure on a team that is not ready for it yet. Besides Buffon and Del Piero no one has won anything of any significance in their lives. Changing the coach at this point is the equivalent of taking a child away from the parents because he fell when riding a bike for the first time, it makes the parent look irresponsible and prevents the kid from growing. The situation that we are in is mostly the players fault and not Del Neri’s tactical schemes or lack thereof. Losing to Lecce, Parma, and Udinese are 95% due to mental weakness and 5% to poor tactics if that. This mental weakness was aggravated after tying Chievo, losing to Parma and our main striker. Quagliarella got us out of trouble many times and the players could always look towards him to make a difference, now the squad needs to adapt to his loss and move forward, and so must we.
I believe Marotta has done a great job given the team and resources he had available to him, likewise, Del Neri has made us better than last season, and Agnelli is making changes that will make us a stronger team going forward. No Champions League will be a hard pill to swallow in May if it comes to that but it is part of our growing pains. In the summer other players that are dear to us may leave, and others will arrive in order to achieve third place and with the funds the stadium will bring in, we will be able to spend even more.
The club is in a very difficult period. In 2006 Juventus was being relegated and we hurriedly decided to agree to a shady deal of going to Serie B in exchange for a “minimum” point deficit on our first season in the second division. In a rush we appointed Alessio Secco as our sporting director. When things weren’t looking very good for Ranieri the club panicked and chose to appoint Ferrara. In the summer of 2009 D’Agostino’s price was too much and the club once again got scared and bought Melo asking him to be a player he is not. Now we are doing it again, Juventus has lost to two weak sides, teams who on paper should not be able to score on us, let alone beat us. Just like a child that is learning to ride a bike, this team needs time and hard work.
Del Neri might not be the man to get us two Champions League trophies and five Scudetti, but he can get the team out of this slump. The players believe in him, which was clear from the Bologna game. Give the players at least two more games and we will see where we go from there. I understand the frustration, but calling Moggi back, and asking Marotta and Del Neri to resign is not the way out of this situation, faith in the people that are now running this club is. I know many of you disagree with what I think is the path to go through. I don’t have the right answers and this blog is what it is because we are open to discussion. I look forward to hearing your comments.
Article written by JoseR