Sarri needs to revolutionize Juventus

Published 18.06.2019 00:00

After an extremely chaotic year at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri has joined Juventus on a three-year contract. Although he finished third in the English Premier League and won the Europa League, Sarri's relationship with fans and players was never healthy. The crisis with Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Carabao Cup final, David Luiz elbowing Gonzalo Higuaín in the Europa League final and Eden Hazard's protests against the way Chelsea played throughout the season were all signs of a toxic atmosphere in the club. Thus, Sarri could not play the game he played in Napoli, namely "Sarriball," in Chelsea. Now, the most important question is, can he do it in Juventus?

First, he should establish his authority on the team from day one to prevent players from harming the unity in the club. There are already rumors that Cristiano Ronaldo wants some players to leave the club and Sarri must make it clear to all players that he is in charge and all players are equal.

This may seem obvious to you but Eden Hazard's rebellious attitude against Sarri's authority was probably the biggest factor in Chelsea's inconsistent form. Sarri was spending more time managing his relationship with the players, the fans and the media than the time he spent on developing his strategies. The same scenario should not take place in Turin if Juventus wants to win the Champions League.

Second, Sarri has to change the way Juventus plays completely to execute Sarriball perfectly. Massimiliano Allegri's team was a physical, defensive and an individualistic one, but Sarri cannot play the game he wants this way. His strategy relies on possession, pressing the opponent in their half and collectively executing the attacks. Of course, the focus will still be creating time and space for Cristiano Ronaldo to score lots of goals, but the chain of actions leading to Ronaldo's finishing will be much more different. Allegri's team did not like to possess the ball for a long time and played direct passes into the final third. Nevertheless, due to unpredictability and instability of this approach, they were no effective against Ajax in the Champions League semifinal. That is why Sarri needs to change this direct approach on the offense completely.

Sarri's strategy wants to bring the ball to the opponent's penalty box in a repeatable and controlled way, so it can be implemented against any opponent any day. But bringing the ball is not enough; you must bring it with enough speed to throw the opponent's defense out of balance. This requires sophisticated set-pieces for all parts of the pitch to execute the strategy effectively.

In these set-pieces, Sarri needs players like Jorginho and Hamsik, natural playmakers to facilitate the plan. I think the absence of a player like Hamsik in the final third affected Chelsea's offensive efficiency significantly, and Sarri must make sure that he not only finds his defensive playmaker but also an offensive playmaker. If he can revolutionize the team's strategy with the right players, Juve can finally win the Champions League with their rich squad.

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