Having registered seven consecutive league wins, Juventus enter Serie A’s traditional winter break in a strong position, as that run has seen them climb up to fourth in the table. Making up 10 places in little over two months, the Bianconeri can reflect on a dramatic improvement over that same period.
Indeed, the first half of 2015/16 has seen the Turin-based club endure some difficult times, with Massimiliano Allegri’s coaching position seemingly under threat after overseeing just three victories in their opening 10 matches.
He never seemed overly concerned however, radiating confidence during an interview with the Independent, during which he admitted that Juve’s summer overhaul was vital if the Old Lady was to remain successful.
“In order to take the team forward we knew it was time to change,” Allegri said as he reflected on a transfer window that saw no fewer than nine new players added to the squad while the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez moved on.
The Bianconeri understandably needed time to regroup, but the coach was criticised for his handling of a number of those summer acquisitions, with perhaps his management of Paulo Dybala at the forefront of that.
“The Dybala case is causing Allegri problems,” proclaimed the front page of Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) back in October, while the president of the striker’s former club Palermo was even more outspoken on the matter.
“Allegri is on track to ruin Dybala," Maurizio Zamparini in an interview with Radio Sportiva (h/t FourFourTwo), only for the Argentinian to eventually become the side’s most influential player in the weeks since.
Having now weighed in with 10 goals and three assists in all competitions, there is little room left for criticism, and Stephan El Shaarawy—who broke into the Milan side during Allegri’s time there—believes the coach handled it perfectly.
“Allegri did a good job with me and I think he's doing it with Dybala,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia). “With young people it takes patience, then if they are good they have another 16 years to play.”
The same can also be said of Alex Sandro, with the Brazilian initially sitting on the bench as Patrice Evra continued to hold down his slot at left-back. Slowly, however, he too would force his way into the starting XI and deliver crucial assists in crucial fixtures against Torino, Milan and Manchester City.
Daniele Rugani has also featured prominently in the last two games, starting in Juve’s Coppa Italia last-16 outing before coming on as a substitute in the win over Carpi. With Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli both the wrong side of 30, the youngster is perfectly positioned to step up and replace them.
Allegri called Rugani “the future of Juventus” at a press conference, and just as with his aforementioned team-mates, it seems the coach has timed his introduction perfectly, with the player himself fully aware of the situation.
“I’ve only just started at Juventus and I knew that it wouldn’t be easy,” Rugani said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, and it has clearly been equally difficult for his new boss over the past few months.
For his part, Allegri is clear as to the reasons for their resurgence, telling a recent press conference that his team is “playing with more confidence now and we're approaching and managing games better too.”
“There's no secret, just hard work and maintaining a sense of perspective,“ he continued, Massimiliano Allegri perhaps highlighting the qualities he brings to the team that have helped steer him through that difficult period.