• Dan Tracey


Taking a high-profile job nine days after being granted your then current one, is always going to set yourself up for a rather sticky situation and that is exactly where Andrea Pirlo finds himself right now.

Because after taking charge of Juventus and less than a fortnight after being given the reins to their Under-23 team, his first season in charge at the Allianz Stadium has been nothing less than a relative disaster.

For a team that was looking to land its 10th successive Serie A title this month, they are nowhere near and after suffering an emphatic defeat at the hands of AC Milan on Sunday night, Champions League football may also allude them.

A concept that is almost unthinkable in the black and white half in Turin and with Pirlo already placing a rather large blot in his managerial copybook, failure to finish in the top four would surely be his final act as manager.

With just three weeks of the Italian league campaign remaining, the former champions now find themselves lying 5th in the standings and currently behind the trio of Atalanta, AC Milan, and Napoli, respectively.

While although none of the trio above have secured an invite to next season’s Champions League, they are certainly in the ascendancy and if you were a betting man, you would not be putting the house on Juventus to turn things around.

There was always going to be an element of transition for the Old Lady this season, it’s just nobody quite expected it to be so severe and any changes that have been made, have largely not been for the greater good.

The man in charge, who for many is considered one of the greatest deep-lying playmakers the game has ever witnessed, has been guilty of trying too many radical tactical tweaks and in doing so, it has only left Juventus’ stars imbalanced and confused.

At times Pirlo has looked like he is out of his depth and you only need to look at the way they succumbed to defeat on Sunday night, as testament to that and with AC Milan winning by three goals to nil, it really was a statement victory.

A statement that says that Juventus are a fading force and now the board must decide what their next move is going to be. A move that may take place, irrespective of any Coppa Italia success next week.

Because that trinket in isolation, is not what the board expect to be in the trophy cupboard at the end of the season and regardless of whether Juventus can go someway to salvaging such a miserable campaign, it may not be enough to save the current managerial incumbent.

Which means if Andrea Pirlo is given a nudge out the exit door and you must remember that managers have been sacked by Juventus even after winning league titles, the quest to find a more able replacement will then begin in earnest.

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