Following a difficult summer, Juventus finally kicked off the 2014-14 campaign with a trip to Veronese side Chievo. Antonio Conte’s sweeping dominance meant Massimiliano Allegri had a tough act to follow, but the new coach was under no illusion as to how difficult a task he faced.
From his appointment in mid-July, the 47-year-old made it clear he knew just what was expected of him and the low opinion in which his arrival was viewed by the club’s fanbase. Speaking to reporters at his inaugural press conference, Allegri laid out his thoughts, per UEFA.com:
I understand that the supporters could be a little sceptical right now as they've changed their coach in less than 24 hours. I will try to convince them with good results, hard work, respect and professionalism.
I won't radically change the team, I will work on the players and try to make this strong team even stronger.
He has done just that, bringing a tactical flexibility that was absent in the past two years under Conte and teaching the squad to once again work in a 4-3-3 formation. Allegri touched on that subject when speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport last weekend (h/t Football Italia):
I think it is very fortunate to be able to switch between two formations, even in the same game. There are moments in the season where you can play with three [defenders] and others when it is better to do so with four.
The team showed good signs in the two phases when they played with a four in Jakarta and Sydney, and also for the whole game in Singapore. We need to work hard to acquire the knowledge to make it possible to use a different formation with the same reliability.
Against Chievo on Saturday, Allegri opted for the reliable 3-5-2 favoured by Conte and was rewarded for that decision with a 1-0 win. Here is a look at the winners and losers from Juve’s narrow opening-day victory.