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Opinion: Pirlo’s brave substitution sealed Juve’s victory over Bologna

January 26, 2021 - 8:15 pm

Italian coaches are known to be a rigid lot. Although Calcio had come a long from the Catenaccio days, there are some “values” that are still being inherited from one generation to another.

Whilst the fans can sometimes be left frustrated with these old Italian ways, the managers involved consider it as their bread and butter.

These ideas often involve a more negative approach to the game. And while these tactics are too numerous to be mentioned, we’ll just focus on a manoeuvre that most Italian coaches consider it a must. Defending a slim lead.

A big fan of this one is current Inter boss Antonio Conte. This season, the former Juventus captain applied this measure on several occasions – by taking off attacking players in favor of adding another defender or two.

However, Conte was considered as the main culprit when his team wasted the win against Roma earlier this month after applying this tactic.

On the other hand, Andrea Pirlo has kept his early promise so far by proving that he’s willing to drop several old ways that don’t make sense in his mind.

Last Sunday against Bologna, Juve failed to kill the match in the first half despite having several chances to add to their early lead.

After the break, the Rossoblu threatened to score the equalizer as Pirlo’s men looked lost in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Whilst a more traditional Italian tactician would have brought in an extra midfielder, the young manager made the opposite move, by bringing on Alvaro Morata for Federico Bernardeschi.

The introduction of a real target man paid off immediately, as the Spaniard made a direct run towards the Bologna goal to connect with Cuadrado’s pass. And although the brilliant Łukasz Skorupski closed his angle to deny it, this ball led to the corner kick which resulted in the Bianconeri’ second goal.

In conclusion, while Pirlo naturally gets criticized after poor results – like the humbling defeat against Inter – he shouldn’t be denied the credit when his tactical decisions play a key role in victory.

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