Juventus and Ciro Ferrara: A Simple Solution

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2009

TURIN, ITALY - DECEMBER 05:  Juventus FC Head Coach Ciro Ferrara during the Serie A match between Juventus and Inter Milan at Stadio Olimpico on December 5, 2009 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

There is no denying facts. Juventus are in a horrendous run of form. An embarrassing 3-1 loss at Bari, following the humiliating 4-1 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munchen, leaves no place to hide.

Many fans, pundits and football watchers are left wondering how long La Vecchia Signora can continue under the leadership of Ciro Ferrara. Adamo Digby takes a look at the situation, and comes to one simple conclusion.

Following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri last season, former Bianconeri star Ciro Ferrara was given a difficult brief by which to manage his first club. Bring the younger players into the first team, integrate five new players into the starting lineup, find a formation that brings out the attacking talents of Del Piero, Diego, Giovinco, Camoranesi, and three front-line strikers.

As if that wasn't enough, he was also expected to emulate the success of Pep Guardiola's first season at Barcelona, winning every trophy in sight. In the face of such a challenge, Ferrara went to work challenging the dominance of Inter and Jose Mourinho. He got off to a fantastic start, not only winning, but doing it in some style, as the 3-1 win over Roma showed all that was great about Ferrara's Juve.

Then came reality. The side has flaws, the lack of a regista being the most obvious. Missing out on Xabi Alonso and Gaetano D'Agostino has hurt the new formation, and some of the new signings. Melo has been pressed into trying to adapt his game and become that passer, which he simply is not.

The criticism of a player trying to help his team has been so great that the coach has removed him from the firing line altogether to try protect him.

Because the supply from midfield has been poor, Diego has suffered in the trequartista role, too. Dropping too deep to find the ball and help the team, his own level has dropped, along with his effectiveness.

Expecting instant success from a player moving from a different league is too much, with fans and the media guilty of short-term memories. Do they not recall the struggles of Zidane or Nedved's first season in Turin? Finding that passer for the midfield is a must, and the January window cannot open soon enough.

The defence has leaked goals, but also has three new players from last season. Martin Caceres has been a revelation at right back, securing his permanent transfer from Barcelona has to be a priority. Fabio Grosso has been a huge upgrade on the left, bringing his attacking threat as well as a solid defence. The team looks much worse when he is missing.

Which brings us to Fabio Cannavaro. Leave aside the "traitor" issue, which is pointless anyways, and Juventus signed him in hopes he could provide leadership, tutor the young players around him, and improve the side. The first two he may well be doing, but on the field, he is fast becoming a liability. Playing Nicola Legrottaglie alongside Chiellini is a short-term solution, but again a return to the market is needed.

Gianluigi Buffon had surgery straight after Saturday's game, but it is only expected to put him out for a month. It went well and the winter break gives him time to get fit again and rejoin the team. Alex Manninger is a more than capable deputy until then.

In attack, goals are proving difficult to come by. Leaving Diego's troubles for a minute, Alessandro Del Piero is still trying to get fully fit, but his return is a huge boost. David Trezeguet is a definite goal threat. Amauri needs looking after, and much like Melo, a break from the spotlight will do him good.

The real issue here has been the absence of Vincenzo Iaquinta. He was in the form of his life before his injury, scoring goals regularly and giving the side balance. His scheduled return in January will be a blessing.

A new partnership in central defence, and returns from Buffon, Del Piero and Iaquinta will improve the team. The addition of a passing midfield player in January will be like two signings, filling a huge hole AND giving us the opportunity to see the real Felipe Melo.

Add those to the players already doing well; Caceres, Chiellini, Grosso, Marchisio, Sissoko, Camoranesi and Giovinco. A team that performs well and provides a threat will bring the best from Diego too.

So what is the simple solution I alluded to at the start of this article? Let the new coach get the team he wants out on the field. Judge him not after 16 rounds, but after 38. After all, despite all the issues discussed, he has still led his side to victories over Lazio, Roma, Sampdoria, and Inter.

Milan and Inter are performing to their best. Juventus are way off realising their full potential, yet remain six points off the lead. Is it really worth more upheaval and turmoil for six points? Yes, a loss to Bari is far from ideal, but it is also worth remembering they have Serie A's meanest defence and are currently in fourth place.If Juventus realise the potential they hold, lo Scudetto is a realistic possibility.

In short? Just give Ciro Ferrara time.