Thursday, April 11

Max Allegri sparks debate with Pep Guardiola comments – “but what has he done?”

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has questioned Pep Guardiola’s reputation as an “extraordinary” coach, insisting he’s simply “signed a goalkeeper who makes long passes”.

Allegri is referring to Ederson, a fundamental part of Guardiola’s success at Manchester City. The Spaniard signed the Brazilian goalkeeper in the summer of 2017 following a disappointing first season at the Etihad, finishing third in the Premier League.

Since then, Guardiola has won three Premier League titles, four EFL Cups, the FA Cup and two Community Shields. City are also in the hunt to win another three trophies this season – including the Champions League, having lost last term’s final to Chelsea.

Guardiola’s honours extend far beyond what he’s achieved at City. At Barcelona, he won three La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, two Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cups between 2008 and 2012.

Then at Bayern, he won three Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during a three-year spell. Guardiola was also an accomplished player, winning 15 trophies at club level – including Barcelona’s first European Cup in 1992.

But if anyone’s qualified to question Guardiola, it’s Allegri. The Italian has won six Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and three Italian Super Cups during his glittering managerial career. He’s also guided Juventus to two Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017.

Massimiliano Allegri is not a huge fan of Pep Guardiola's style of play
Massimiliano Allegri is not a huge fan of Pep Guardiola’s style of play

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And Allegri felt comfortable doing so in a recent interview with GQ Italia. As quoted by Football Italia, the Juventus boss asked: “Play well or get results? It’s a nice game, it’s funny! Guardiola is an extraordinary coach, but what has he done?

“Everyone thinks about building from the back, but he has signed a goalkeeper who makes long passes and launches the ball 80 meters away. This is to say that often people are deceived by things that don’t exist. The main thing is you have to win games.

“Not all the matches are the same and there are more games inside one. The games in September are not like those in March when there is more pressure and you need more calm. The ball becomes smaller and heavier.

“We need fewer tactics, more versatility and pragmatism. Players must understand and think. I want them to find different solutions when they find a closed door.”

This isn’t the first time Allegri has questioned Guardiola’s style of play. In December 2019, he said: “I’m seeing a great return for the counterattack. We mistakenly followed Guardiola for 20 years. Guardiola’s football was not for everyone. You have to have [Andreas] Iniesta, Xavi and [Lionel] Messi. We took a subject that related only to them as a lesson for everyone.”

Although Allegri has achieved significant success during his managerial career, Juventus have struggled since he was re-appointed in the summer of 2021. The Italian giants are currently fourth in Serie A – seven points behind leaders AC Milan – and were dumped out of the Champions League by Villarreal last month. Juventus remain in the hunt for the Italian Cup.

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