After a dismal run which included a series of disappointing performances and unacceptable results the Bianconeri management finally decided to replace the inexperienced Ciro Ferrara with Alberto Zaccheroni. It is unreasonable to question whether Zaccheroni could have won the title if he was coaching from the beginning of the season. However, he most likely would have achieved better results with Juventus than Ferrara.
Without dwelling much on the wasted first half of the season, the Bianconeri do appear rejuvenated with Zaccheroni at the helm. They have achieved three consecutive victories in the span of one week. The first two matches under the new coach ended with unconvincing draws but it was too early to place judgement since Zaccheroni was still getting familiar with the squad.
The situation has improved and the only way to tell if hiring Zaccheroni was a smart move will come at the end of the season with results and the club’s final league standing defining whether this was a successful move or not. Under Ferrara the Bianconeri appeared to be short on confidence while the coach seemed to lack the proper knowledge and experience to overcome the obstacles. Zaccheroni is benefiting from Alessandro Del Piero’s return to form as the striker barely featured under the previous coach due to injury.
Zaccheroni’s most notable change has been benching the struggling Fabio Grosso and giving the younger Paolo De Ceglie the chance to impress. While De Ceglie still has room for improvement, he is doing a better job than Grosso. The other major adjustment could be attributed to the fact a number of players have returned from injury as opposed to Zacceroni’s tactical genius considering Claudio Marchisio was missing due to injury. At this stage Marchisio is starting in midfield while only one of Felipe Melo or Mohamed Sissoko is starting which is a big bonus given both players have shown time and again they cannot gel or work together on the pitch.
Zaccheroni’s faith in striker Amauri also paid off with the Brazilian scoring three goals in the last few fixtures. Amauri will probably still end up on the chopping block but at least at this stage Juventus are making full use of him and perhaps also increasing his valuation.
The next few games will give further indication regarding the wisdom of hiring Zaccheroni and whether it was another bad decision by the Bianconeri management. With the club riding a three game winning streak, the confidence is gradually but surely being restored to the squad. One thing the fans and the critics must understand is Juventus will likely succumb to defeat sooner or later under the new coach so the expectations must be reasonable and not unrealistic.
Only time will tell how far Zaccheroni will take the current squad before it is broken up because minor tweaks will not yield any trophies next season. The former Milan coach has shown he is not comfortable with certain players and has issues with the full-back positions, all of which were concerns at the beginning of the season. The players, in particular the old guard, have shown the desire to work hard and achieve results. The experienced squad members acknowledge results are needed and will try to focus on one match at a time in order to get as close as possible to the top three positions or at least hold on to the fourth spot.