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A Tale of Two Coaches: Zaccheroni and Ferrara speak out about Juventus

In the last few weeks, Ferrara and Zaccheroni have opened up about their short-lived tenures at Juventus now that neither are officially hired by the club. They both have spoken about Diego's future, whether Del Piero is a problem, etc. Fascinatingly, they come to very, very different conclusions. Before reading the interviews, I would have expected Zaccheroni to be very bitter, and Ferrara a bit less so. Zaccheroni turns out to not be bitter at all, and Ferrara seems moreso, understandably. Both agree on one thing- between the injuries, incompetent management, and poor mercato, the bad season was neither fault. Both interviews after the jump.


Ciro Ferrara, speaking to the Gazzetta dello Sport:

The situation at Juve had precedence over mine, in the fear of disrupting the environment, I wasn't able to speak freely. It was better to be silent.

The numbers say that after your sacking, Juventus didn't improve.

Zac admitted the same thing, who in my regards, was correct. I'm not fixated on statistics, the situation is different month by month. But there exists one certain fact: it wasn't all my fault.

Who do you send this message to? To the club? The fans? To the players who after your sacking spoke a bit too much?

I have no malice in regard to Juventus or its fans/people, because 16 great years cannot be forgotten because of 6 months. Last week I rescinded my contract, because I want to return to work as a coach, not because I wanted to leave Torino. Having said this, in the days after my sacking I read statements that hurt me. Players are made that way, but phrases like "now, we're training well" or "Zac finally makes us work on tactics" as if I hadn't spent hours on the pitch explaining formations and plans...let's say that my successor was more prepared. The players who got a worse average number of points with him are really donkeys."

Let's return to your management. What faults do you recognize?

In general, I don't want alibis, I feel responsible for the failure. The good start and subsequent rain of praises in some way made the tension dip. At first I was very demanding and things went smoothly. Then I softened a little. Unconsciously, I must have thought that the difficulty was behind me. You can see the inexperience of which I am accused there.

At the beginning, you were often compared to Guardiola, but it doesn't seem that the comparison holds. The Catalan [Guardiola] didn't coach his old teammates.

At the end, to have to coach some friends was a problem. I always chose with the head, not with the heart, but I wasn't always understood.

Before accepting Laporta's offer [President of Barcelona], Guardiola made the precondition of selling Ronaldinho and Deco because they had "conditioned" the locker room, they had too much influence. Were you tempted to do the same with Del Piero?

It's unthinkable for Del Piero to be sold. Ronaldinho played for Barcelona for 5 years, Ale represents far longer at Juventus. There's a relationship, there is a great history. But he always wants to play, and at times it becomes a problem. It could be the same next year.

Felipe Melo, a Juventus quality player, or no?

"He has the quality, but he needs to learn to make himself liked by his teammates. He is anything but a bad guy, but he trained with a lot of arrogance and made many angry, and if someone disrespects others on the field, you notice."

Will Diego be kept, or offloaded?

"Absolutely kept. He is a good player, and he trains hard and very conscientious. He needs two strikers, who move forward deep because his strength is the pass; unfortunately the tendency of those I had was to come to him. This is why he wasn't explosive."

But on the mercato, you didn't have a voice?

"The call from Juventus [to coach] came all of a sudden. Cannavaro and Diego were already signed, but I had no problems with them. I got along well with them. Grosso I wanted, and I say this because it offended me to read that Lippi had built this team, as if I was merely holding the seat warm for him to come a year later"

Lippi should have returned as a Director General?

A more plausible hypothesis. But he wouldn't have made the squad selection.

It is always said that among the management, it was missing a concrete "man of the pitch." A fair criticism?

"The complex period of after-calciopoli wasn't all wasted, immediately back in Serie A, then the Champion's League, and 2nd place. It went badly this season, and many of us have paid the consequences. The authority of a football man is missed during moments of crisis, when the management is talking to the squad in a sharp tone, and the players you could read in their faces, them thinking, "Who the hell are you to tell me what I must do?"


Zaccheroni, speaking to Il Giornale:

If he remained at Juventus, Alberto Zaccheroni would have been the only coach in Serie A who had won a Scudetto. Him and Mourinho, now both are gone.

"He is someone who always needs to have an enemy, but then he gets offensive and that’s not something I appreciate. Tactically, he's not very good. I sent a few coaches to study him at Riscone, during a training camp of Inter. Every night they called me and said," Mister, we went, but we're not learning anything here. Now that he realised Inter would’ve won even without him, he has chosen to leave. President Massimo Moratti had always told me his dream Coach was Fabio Capello.” But at Madrid, Mourinho will do well. No one knows like him how to motivate the players.

He left calcio, but you...

I wouldn't have kept myself on, without 4th place. However, everything was all done, they asked me to renew my contract, I said I didn't have time, too much work, 14 games in 42 games and more than half the players injured or carrying injuries while playing.

How did it end this way?

The turning point was Siena, 3-0 after a few minutes, then Grygera lost Maccarone and the team collapsed, then we went to London and there was the disaster against Fulham. In a team, you need quality, legs, and if there weren't, and lastly, a calm head, and after Siena that didn't exist anymore. We were there without Iaquinta, Amauri, Buffon, Chiellini, Sissoko, Marchisio, and maybe I forgot someone, whereas Fulham had few absences. In general, the first half was solid, and then the second we disappeared. Thankfully, we at least had Del Piero.

Why Del Piero?

"He doesn't have the strength he used to, but he was the only who consistently put the ball in the net. I used him sparingly, I substituted him, I put him on the bench, he always followed my instructions. He doesn't have 90minutes left, but he remains one of the best. And with him, I never had any misunderstandings, not even that time of the Marchisio substitution that I didn't do. They wrote that he was like Totti, that he decided himself the coaching decisions. But even in this situation, we had the same ideas."

And with the others?

"I was welcomed and wished well by all, they knew in what conditions I was working. Blanc is underestimated, even if he had put a team together of great quality. Felipe Melo was exceptional, during training one on one, no one wanted to mark him, he has an atomic physical strength. Sissoko went through everything, he lived a tragedy, it ended up that he had to take to care of 6 of his wife's younger siblings, psychologically he was destroyed. Buffon suggested me as coach of the Nazionale, Diego is a world-class player who wasn't able to adapt to Serie A. He will leave Juventus. When Del Neri arrived at Porto he said: "Diego? A great talent, but he will not play with me."

So everyone with the coach...

Except for one. He came to me and said, "Mister, I am here but don't count on me."

And now?

"Juventus is building a great team. Also because Giraudo, even if he's living in London, continues to run the assets of the Agnellis. (notably Umbero, father of Andrea) Juventus will be the primary antagonist to Inter.

-Injuries predetermined the season
-Diego is a great player

-Felipe Melo in training: Ferrara says he disrespected his teammates and was arrogant, Zaccheroni says he was a model professional and worked hard
-Diego's Problems, and Future: Ferrara indicates the team wasn't built properly with him, which I am in full agreement with. Zaccheroni says he didn't adapt properly to Serie A. Ferrara says Diego must stay, Zaccheroni doesn't opine on it, merely stating that he will be sold.
-Del Piero's role in the team: Ferrara says he did occasionally cause problems by his desire to play, Zaccheroni said he was a perfect professional and never challenges his coaching role

So there's a lot of questions these two bring up, one thing to consider is their history. Zaccheroni is an experienced coach, and thus perhaps never had issues with Felipe Melo or Del Piero in terms of authority, which might explain why Ferrara did. Overall, I understand Ferrara's anger, I think it is curious, in an interview last summer he said he never really wanted to be a coach, but now it looks like he's certain to continue. I also think Zaccheroni conducted his interview with class, despite questionable player selections, I think Zac is a decent coach and could do very well with a mid-table/EL team.

And lastly......WHO was that player who refused to work with Zac? People on generally have agreed that it was Camoranesi. I figure we can rule out Del Piero, Felipe Melo, Buffon, Sissoko, and Diego, who he spoke well of. People generally agree it's unlikely to be Cannavaro and Trezeguet, given their demeanor and playing time under Zac. (Although it could be Canna, given that he knew Juve wouldn't sign him longer, and he was preferred by Lippi/Ferrara.) That leaves a few others, and some have nominated players who didn't play much under Zac. Not sure that could be it though, given that I assume the player mentioned it to start with, so I don't think it'd be someone who didn't play much under Zac.

Plenty to discuss in the two interviews. Thoughts?