Andrea Pirlo began his managerial career in September 2020. The first team he manages is Juventus, Italy’s biggest club in recent decades, a team for whose fans he is a bonafide legend. Given his relative new status as a manager, here is what we know of Andrea Pirlo’s tactics so far.
Andrea Pirlo promises to offer the Juventus fans something to cheer about. While the previous manager Maurizio Sarri was criticized for a tactical approach that was not very visually appealing, Pirlo is determined to make wholly different choices.
Pirlo admits to drawing a lot of inspiration from Antonio Conte, the current Inter Milan manager. Conte and Pirlo worked together at Juventus, and formed a successful partnership.
The main tenets Pirlo wants to bring to Juventus are hard work, ball possession, and a strong attacking presence.
Pirlo’s defensive principles and current vulnerabilities
Andrea Pirlo‘s methods have, so far, been greeted with mixed emotions. Some see him as an idealist, asking of veteran players to perform in a manner that was never natural to them.
Juventus has won 4 points of 6. However, their most recent draw, 3-3 to AS Roma, exposed some of these vulnerabilities. Pirlo used a 3-4-1-2 formation, with a backline defending very high up the pitch.
The defensive trio of Chiellini, Bonucci, and Danilo was often caught on the wrong foot when forced to guard against a quick counter-attack. While the first two players, especially, are legends of the game, their speed and quick passing was rarely viewed as the hallmark of their game.
Attacking options and tactical discipline
Pirlo has made few squad changes since joining Juventus. Arthur has arrived from FC Barcelona in a move announced months ago. Weston McKennie followed from Schalke 04 in a move that will pay dividends further down the line.
Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata joined towards the later stages of the transfer window. Both were added to Juventus’ standard starting eleven, and are tasked with improving the team offensively.
However, Pirlo’s desire to play an attacking style of football, where midfielders are encouraged to play from the back and maintain a quick pace throughout the match, leaves room for errors at the moment.
Juventus struggle to maintain their formation’s shape. Attacking players, with the exception of Cristiano Ronaldo, have rarely managed to get themselves in the optimal advanced position. Worst of all, Pirlo’s men are often found scrambling to return to defense when possession has been lost. Juve has even found themselves needing to rely on winger Juan Cuadrado as their last stop gate against AS Roma’s attacks.
What next for Pirlo and Juventus?
Managing Juventus is no small order for even the most experienced manager, let alone one making his debut. Andrea Pirlo, however, was no ordinary player. The Italian possessed one of the greatest tactical visions of anyone to have played the game. Juventus are taking a gamble, yet one that may pay off.
Pirlo’s tactical approach is ambitious. While his decisions have not always paid off in his opening games, he deserves time in implementing his vision. Juventus is a strong enough team to know how to adapt to these changes.