Trying to get under Massimiliano Allegri’s skin seems to have become a recent national pastime of the football journalists covering the sport in Italy. Especially as the team has faltered in the past few weeks, pundits and analysts alike have taken to ripping apart the team with glee and Allegri will not stand for it anymore.
More on that later, but first his comments immediately after Juventus dismantled AC Milan 4-0 in the Coppa Italia final, thanks in big part to an error-strewn display by Gigi’s heir-
apparent wannabe Gigio.
“We got the trophy, the lads had an extraordinary game and deserved this win, taking nothing away from Milan, who had a good first half.
“I had told the lads they needed to give themselves this evening after so much joy to the fans and the club. It’s right for them to celebrate, as when they work hard and enjoy their football, they’re hard to beat.
“In games like this you need a little time to get into gear, but we found the passing lines, the spaces opened up and naturally the technique emerged.”
Immediately after the final whistle Allegri found himself covered in foam.
“Juan Cuadrado celebrated the same way last year! Now we have to ensure the Scudetto mathematically and enjoy this extraordinary season.”
On the remarkable achievement of the fourth consecutive double, Allegri sounded like he was in awe.
“We are talking about a group that has written a piece of Juventus history. I compliment these lads, as it’ll be seven Scudetto titles and all the other trophies.
“In football you can also lose, because there are other teams fighting too. The issue is to create new motivation. Aside from the results, there are many elements that decide a season.
“It’s not that Juve have to win, but I’m now unfortunately used to the idea that people take our victories for granted. Nothing is to be taken for granted, as football is so unpredictable that reducing everything to tactics seems unfair.”
Allegri took the bold move of benching Gonzalo Higuain from the starting lineup.
“Naturally, Higuain didn’t take it well. I made a choice and wanted a more physical centre-forward. It’s better to have Gonzalo ready to come off the bench than Mario Mandzukic. He was all ready to come on, then the game went well for us and he had the last 15 minutes.”
Then the snide remarks started, with Allegri being asked if the Juve era was close to an end with a number of players now over 30.
“You have to look at the positives. At times we get stuck in these conversations, but football is very simple, you have to deal with the various moments of the season.
“You always talk about tactics, but you should make it clear to young Coaches that football is also practice and not just theory. I grew up with Giovanni Galeone as my Coach. There are those who explain football and those who talk about football.
“A team that wins seven titles in a row has no issues. Football is like Monopoly, you don’t know what card you’re going to draw. I have a completely different view of football to you.”
Then it got worse, and I’ll leave you with Football Italia’s version because I could not describe it better.
Pundit Mario Sconcerti commented the Coach seemed ‘tired’ and that was the final straw.
“Unlike you, I am clear-headed. I have plenty of patience and I’ll wait for you all at the finish line.”
Allegri then stormed off, muttering about the standard of questions.
Bravo, il Mister.