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The confusing case of Allegri’s tactics

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Now before reading this article, do remember that it isn’t a reactionary take from yesterday’s match but an overall observation on Allegris’s brand of football. When Juventus hired Allegri for his second tenure, fans knew what they were getting. A coach with a defensive approach towards the game, which he didn’t change for his second term, looking to replicate the team with which he had immense success during his first appointment.

Life under Allegri hasn’t been as smooth sailing as we were expecting, asking many questions if his approach really works anymore. Now the basic idea behind his philosophy is defending before anything, and then catching the opposition on counter-attacks, but modern football has become too cruel for this approach. Modern tactics have become more offensive and attack-oriented with there being so many ways to break down teams with low blocks and teams with an additional player in the backline with the new way to defend are emerging in the form of playing a high line and pressing from the front in a cohesive manner.

Playing with low blocks and a defensive approach are becoming tactics for lower-level teams and we have to ask ourselves if we see ourselves winning against major European sides with this style of play. Recent UCL winning teams tell us something, Tuchel’s Chelsea was an adaptive side whose gameplan varied according to the opposition. Yes, their build-up play was slow at times but the fundamental idea behind it was different. Flick’s Bayern which dominated Europe, and seemed invincible, played the extremely modern brand of football, the same goes for Liverpool before them. The last time a team with a defensive approach came close to winning the UCL was Juventus in the 2016-17 season five years ago where they lost in the final.

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Now I don’t entirely blame Allegri for the performance of the team this season because his brand of football requires much better players than what we currently have. A disciplined defensive unit that can work together and is still individually world-class, players who are willing to work hard and who can trackback from the opposition’s box immediately after an attack, and all in all, players with the grinta mentality. The unstable recruiting in the past few years before this season and many injuries have made even more problems for Allegri to play his brand of football where one individual error or lapse of concentration erases the hard work of the whole game.

I believe that Allegris’s approach will get us domestic success after some key recruitments in the defense and midfield department in the summer, but is the same approach feasible for our European ambitions or should we look to have a more balanced approach? Time will tell.

 

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