The moment we have all been wondering about has happened; Maurizio Sarri has been sacked by Juventus following their Champions League loss to Lyon. From the midway point of the season until the end, I knew this was going to happen. Although they won the league, they have struggled to adapt to Sarri’s playstyle and it showed in Champions League Friday night. All credit to Lyon, but Juventus should never be losing to a team which finished 7th place in France. Juventus need to keep their image as a big club and having a manager of Sarri’s reputation doesn’t help reach that standard, but what exactly went wrong?
This is the third coaching job, in as many years, that Sarri has lost. This clearly isn’t a team problem if a manager continues to be replaced. Sarri-ball worked pretty well in Napoli, until it didn’t. Teams can easily figure out Sarri’s tactics and exploit them, its what went wrong in Napoli, Chelsea, and now Juventus. The thing about his tactics is that he needs specific players at every position for it to work, meaning the clubs have to put out tons of money for the right players to fit his system. This went wrong with his last two clubs because he didn’t have their full support from the beginning and it showed. Without having the full support of the clubs, he is forced to deal with what the club already has, that is what splits the world class managers from the average. A club like Juventus needs a world class manager, not an average one.
I’ve gone into this many times previously, but we all know Sarri’s tactics are great in getting the attack to the final third, but he relies too much on individual talent in that spot. I would argue that this is a spot on the field where you want your tactics to play out and lead to more chances. You can’t win a football match by passing the ball around the back four waiting to find a through ball, this isn’t England. A managers tactics should cover 100% of the field and that isn’t how Sarri manages, leading to a low amount of chances even though they hold high possession. Sarri could be successful in turning bottom-table teams to mid-table teams, and making mid-table teams compete for European spots, but that is his ceiling and its unfortunate to see. When you have a team like Juventus with world class players like Ronaldo and Dybala, losing in UCL round of 16 is unacceptable.
Just hours after officially sacking Sarri, Juventus promoted newly hired U23 manager, Andrea Pirlo, to the first team position. This came as a huge to surprise to me and others around the football world. I figured they would give him at least one or two seasons with the U23 team before considering giving him the top job. This is his first coaching job at any level; so while I’m optimistic, this could go very bad very quick. One thing I know for sure, the midfield will improve and that is the main area they need fixed. This is a very big risk by Juventus at a bad time, but we’ll see how this plays out coming off of a short offseason. Let’s hope that we see some of the same things Zidane brought to Madrid.
Written by: Michael “TFT Mike” Cooke (@mike_cooke3)