Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

The Bianconeri legend believes there were positive signs in 2020-21 from the inexperienced coach cutting his teeth at the very highest level

Andrea Pirlo has endured a baptism of fire as Juventus manager, but Claudio Marchisio believes he has seen signs of encouragement.

The Bianconeri looked to a familiar face for inspiration after parting with Maurizio Sarri in the summer of 2020.

Things did not play out as planned, with arch-rivals Inter snatching the Serie A title in a season that left Juve scratching around for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification on the final day.

What has been said?

It remains to be seen whether Pirlo will be back in 2021-22, but Marchisio expects progress to be made by a man who has shown that he can make tough choices including leaving Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the crucial last day showdown with Bologna.

Bianconeri legend Marchisio told Goal: “Leading a group of people is never easy. There are many external variables, even more so in a difficult year like the one just ended. 

“The decision to bet on Pirlo was courageous; Andrea became a coach just after taking off the shoes of that great player that he was. 

“Would a few years of experience have been convenient? It may well be, but how can you say no when Juventus calls you? 

“However, it seems clear to me that his first career as a coach was conditioned by circumstances that would have put even the most experienced of the ranks in difficulty. 

“In any case, in the end two cups and qualification for the Champions League arrived, with a courageous choice like that of leaving Ronaldo out in a fundamental match.”

What happened to Juventus in 2020-21?

As Pirlo faces questions of his ongoing presence, so too does five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo – as he approaches the final 12 months of his current contract.

Change appears to be on the cards in Turin, with Marchisio admitting that no side can take success for granted.

The 35-year-old, who came out of Juve’s academy ranks to make 389 appearances over 12 years, said: “You can’t win forever, sooner or later it has to happen. This year the team, beyond the position in the standings, has lost many points against teams that were fighting to save themselves and this has affected the final performance a lot. 

“This season is a great lesson to learn from: perhaps the many consecutive victories have led us to take for granted results that in reality were not at all. 

“Having said that, in the end we are talking about a team that for its own merits or the demerits of others finds itself in the Champions League and with two trophies won. Did we expect more? Yes, but in the end I think the success achieved will suffice.”

Marchisio added: “I believe that it was a physiological exhaustion of the cycle that led to nine consecutive league titles. It was a strange season, with little time to break from the end of the past one and inevitably characterised by the Covid emergency. 

“There may be many extenuating circumstances to take into consideration: injuries, the three games a week played at least until the end of January with a new coach who needed time to bring his concepts to the field.”

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