So I have the honour of giving a season rating to the one guy whose effectiveness and contribution has been debated here second only to a certain expensive Argentine striker (not the one named Paulo Dybala). The opinions held of Max Allegri are usually polar opposites, with many calling for his replacement, and many attributing much of our success to him. Here’s my take.
Serie A: Champion
Now, winning Serie A is no easy feat, and Max deserves some additional respect for doing it this year. Roma and Napoli both put up beyond respectable point totals this year with 87 and 86 respectively. After analyzing the past tables, I found that no team in the modern era (2000-Present) has ever put up a second place finish with 86 or 87 points, let alone having a third place finish with anywhere near 86.
In fact, much more often than not 86 or 87 points would win you the league.
Allegri dealt with historic pressure behind him on the table this year, and he did a great job of ensuring that he got the job done in the league where he couldn’t afford to slip up. A lot of this is overlooked because of the past success of this team, but he still certainly deserves credit here.
Coppa Italia: Champion
When seriously competing on three fronts, Max could have avoided giving this competition a serious thought, and instead focused on the other more notable competitions. Instead, he used it as a chance to keep his players sharp, and give much needed minutes to some bench pieces. This paid off as he won the competition, and the fatigue levels did not negatively affect the other two big competitions.
Italian Super Cup: Lost to Milan on penalties
Champions League: Finalist
Regardless of how it ended, Allegri did a phenomenal job in the Champions League. Let’s all remember the transfer budgets that many of the teams we’re competing with have. They can go out and buy whatever player they like to build the ultimate dream teams for their system. Max doesn’t have that luxury. He gets to work with players who are purchased for a fraction of the price. And I know transfer fee isn’t everything, but there are clearly teams with more talented players than us in this competition, Real Madrid being one of them.
The Final 45 Minutes
It’s the beauty of a knockout tournament, but unfortunately so much will be judged on the final 90 minutes — or in this case, 45 — of a long tournament. I’m certain there will be fans that will dismiss the rest of his success, and deem him not worthy of managing the team based on 45 minutes of play, and that would be completely unfair. Expecting a win in a game versus Real Madrid is optimistic, but not out of the question. Demanding a win in a 90 minute winner-takes-all game versus Real Madrid is silly.
Allegri got outclassed in the second half, there’s no denying that. The midfield was clearly dominated, but it seemed like this team had no idea what to do when playing down a goal or two. This was ultimately Max’s downfall of the year, and it may have cost him a Champions League title. Part of this has to do with the lack of experience playing from behind due to the league dominance, but that isn’t a complete excuse. He wasn’t aided by having no actual attacking subs on the bench, which again isn’t a complete excuse, but it really doesn’t help.
When outlooks with the 3-5-2 and 4-3-1-2 were looking grim, it was clear that change was needed. With the perfect set of players for both the 3-5-2 and 4-3-1-2 though, there wasn’t an obvious choice of where to go from there. Well, Allegri threw a huge curveball and changed it up to a 4-2-3-1 with Mario Mandzukic playing LW. How many of you predicted that at the beginning of the year? He managed to build a system that got to the Champions League final with a single natural winger in the team (with Pjaca being injured for most of the year).
This was not an obvious change to make, and was not even obvious that it would work. Alas, Mandzukic became one of our most effective players in a position where if you didn’t see it for yourself, you wouldn’t believe it.
Overall Season Rating: 9
To me, a perfect 10 would have been winning all four competitions. He loses minor points for the Super Cup, and the rest from the final 45 minutes of not having a response for Real Madrid’s goals. Max Allegri is the right man to lead Juventus. I have complete faith that he will learn from his mistakes versus Real Madrid in the second half, and barring transfer disasters, he will continue to allow us to compete with more expensive and talented teams next season. Will he get the depth that we require to take the next step? That remains to be seen.