After Juventus’ exit from the Coppa Italia at the end of January, the board was convinced a coaching change was the right thing to do.
Rookie coach Ciro Ferrara was shown the door in favor of Alberto Zaccheroni and all of his experience. It was not a long-term deal, as Zac and the board made it known right off the bat, but he was expected to do one thing and one thing only—get Juve in the top four.
Well, it hasn’t quite worked out. In fact, it hasn’t worked at all.
There was the customary small group of wins that accompanied Zac’s first couple of games. It was almost something that was completely predictable—new coach brings in some new ideas and everybody’s confidence starts to go up once again.
The players who were struggling under Ferrara—Amauri and Felipe Melo, for example—were starting to look like they actually were becoming relevant again.
However, that was then and this is now.
Since then, Juve have not only crashed out of Europe for a second time by the score of 4-1, but also fallen completely out of the race for a top four finish.
Juve, just like at the end of Ferrara’s tenure, are going down the drain without an end in sight. Instead of looking like a team working together with one idea in mind, there is no plan of how to go about things.
They are completely lost, and even worse, they don’t even look like they care.
You can just tell how low morale is every time a goal goes in the back of the net. The heads go down, the shoulders droop, and the results are always the same—a disappointing loss.
This is exactly how the Ferrara Era ended. It didn’t matter who they were playing, you were going to be disappointed in one way or another. When Juve went a goal down, the game was basically over.
There’s no fight. That’s not Juventus. Not one bit.
The losses don’t look like they’re going to end any time soon. The performances have been on a consistent slide ever since the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Palermo at the end of February.
The consistency that seemed to be coming in the games leading up to the Palermo match hasn’t come back.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Alessio Secco’s inexperience as a sporting director was again taken advantage of as the majority of this summer’s signings have flopped badly.
On top of that, there seems to be a new injury every single week with the number of injuries this season pushing 70. The defense, which wasn’t very good at all under Ferrara, has gotten even worse during Zaccheroni’s tenure.
How bad? Since Zaccheroni’s debut on the sidelines against Lazio on Jan. 31, Juve have allowed 25 goals in 15 games in all competitions.
That’s something you see from clubs battling it out not to get relegated, not a club like Juventus who, no matter how they are playing, want to qualify for Europe.
All of this just shows that it wasn’t Ferrara’s fault for the team struggling like it was. He obviously wasn’t doing anything that would cause him to storm into Secco’s office and demand he keep his job, but the team struggling shouldn’t have solely been put on him.
Would Juve be in the same spot they are now if they kept Ferrara? Who knows. But as we have come to discover, bringing in a new coach has solved nothing.
It’s going to be a tale of two clubs when the next round of the Derby d’Italia is played in less than two weeks. In most years, it would be a welcome challenge to go into the San Siro and come away with a victory.
But this year, during this horror show of a season, it seems like just another embarrassment waiting to happen.