It has been known for some time that the Juventus Women would have a new manager for the 2021-22 season. After Rita Guarino announced she would be stepping down after guiding the club in its first four seasons, it did not take long for Juventus to name former Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro as her successor.
Last week, Montemurro spoke to the press before beginning his first training sessions with most of the first team back from their summer vacations. He kept a lot of things close to the vest, but he made it very clear he was excited about making the move from England and he believes Juventus can take the next steps to become one of the best clubs in Europe.
Here are a few things we learned from his comments about what to expect from his first season.
1. The Juventus Women team is still very early in the building process
Head of Juventus Women Stefano Braghin took to the microphone first and made it clear he believes Montemurro is the right choice to continue the club’s domestic performance while taking Juventus to the next level internationally. However, he also voiced that at the end of the day, this is a very young team and the process could take a while to get to the top.
“The last time we all met at a press conference here in Vinovo was the summer of 2017, the beginning of the history of this team,” Braghin said. “After four years we are here again for another crucial step in this project, which until now has given the club great satisfaction, writing some very important pages in history of Italian women’s football. The evolution of a project passes through the imagination. We have a constant desire to grow and improve.”
Montemurro echoed that statement, but he also made sure to compliment everything Juventus has accomplished in the short time with a women’s team.
“For two years, the director Braghin and I have been talking,” Montemurro said. “And I chose Juventus for the general framework and for the growth of Juve and Italian football. I hope that here the foundations can be created to move forward not only as a result of the team, but also for the growth of players who can move forward in the national team.”
2. Montemurro wants women’s football to grow — not just in Turin, but the rest of Italy
Coming from England, Montemurro has been a part of a more established domestic women’s league, as the Super League has become a top attraction for international players and one of the most competitive leagues in the world. He knows what it takes and he wants to see it happen in Italy.
“Very important investments have been made in England by the top clubs,” Montemurro said. “When we make the same leap in Italy, the gap will be filled, and professionalism will be fundamental.”
Montemurro said several top clubs have began making that investment in Italy, but there is still some time to go. He also noted his willingness to develop the women’s youth sector in order to reach some of the club’s long term goals.
“Italian football is growing, not only here,” Montemurro said. “We hope to continue this process, both at the youth sector level, for the national team, and at a European level ... It is undervalued. You don’t see much abroad, it’s a shame. The level of play and organization is in line with that of the major European leagues.”
3. He doesn’t want to be married to a specific formation but rather a style of play
If you read the Q&A with our friends from The Short Fuse, it seems like they gave out some pretty good tips for what to expect from Montemurro. He has played with heavy possession in the past while using some changes in formation from game to game depending on the opponent. And he didn’t shy away from that during his presser.
“I believe in possession of the ball and in a proactive attitude, which leads to dominating the games with the ball,” Montemurro said. “... and I want my team to lead the games with the ball at their feet and control the situation, trying to create numerical superiority. And defending differently according to the phases of the match.”
It’s easy to talk about possession and, as we have seen in both the men’s and women’s game, it doesn’t always translate to results. But it’s not just about keeping the ball for Montemurro — it’s developing an attack from the possession and using nearly everyone on the pitch to make something happen.
“The base will be foursome with a lot of mobility in attack,” Montemurro said. “Sometimes you will see a three-man defense or even a two. It will be a fluid form, not a fixed one.”
4. Peyraud-Magnin may be Montemurro’s favorite player already
Finding a capable replacement at goalkeeper was always going to be a priority for the summer, and Juventus believe they found that replacement with Pauline Peyruad-Magnin from Atletico Madrid. Of course, Montemurro is very familiar after the keeper spent two seasons with him in charge at Arsenal.
“A modern goalkeeper, good at exits, in dribbling in finding the best solution,” Montemurro said. “Pauline is one of the few in the world who starts the game, she has technical skills, she is a leader and has already had an international experience, she is a goalkeeper for the French national team. An honor to have her here for this new project “.
Peyraud-Magnin will certainly fit if Montemurro wants to play heavily with the ball. They were both used to it when they were in London and Montemurro knows he can trust her to get the job done in the back.
5. The No. 1 Goal? The Champions League
With Juventus already showing dominance in Italy, Braghin made it clear Montemurro was brought in to make sure the club can do more in European competition.
“After a fantastic cycle we have made some reflections: those who think about the future of a club, must also think about change and evolution,” Braghin said. “The objectives? We need to think about a three-year project, we aim to rise in the ranking from our current 33rd place to 8th.”
That’s a lot of pressure for a first-year coach and while Montemurro admitted it’s likely not to happen in one season, he backed Braghin’s high expectations for the current team.
“I am convinced that this team must grow internationally, working day by day to gain awareness,” Montemurro said. “I am convinced that we can reach the top ... We have little time to prepare, we have to work well from a mental point of view to get to the Champions League; moreover it is a matter of planning.”