When Giovanni Cobolli Gigli was asked to give his thoughts on Beppe Marotta and Luigi Del Neri’s arrival at Juve, the ex-President muttered. “I read in the newspapers that the atmosphere is good and that the dressing room has responded well to their arrival. However, judging by what has been done so far, frankly at this moment, we are not seeing the results of the good work.” Much has been said about the current Juventus status and a few critics have pointed out that at this stage last year, Juve boasted two more points. Yet there seems to be no fan hysteria as the notion of faith has engulfed the Bianconeri tifosi who are famed for their fanatical commitment to the club.
Much of this quiet belief is due to having an Agnelli back at the helm – determined to succeed and passionate about the defence of his accused club. His devotion to the family legacy combined with his past experience at working with Juve means the club is back in the hands of an aficionado and a modern President with clear ideas. By adhering to past winning formulas, Agnelli knew that by saying little and working a lot, results would eventually arrive. Only promises of hard work were made and duly kept.
By employing Marotta, Agnelli knew the shrewd businessman would take the team a step further. After spending €50m on two players last season, the old management bought nothing but expectation. The old adage of Juventus creating rather than buying champions was no longer uttered. Marotta’s arrival affected a return to past ideals – devotion to the development of Italian players and a sensible and professional approach to the business module. Moreover, full support was offered to the Coach’s style of football. Old stars with overly inflated egos and high salaries were dropped for young Italians eager to prove their worth to create balance within the team. In contrast to last season, players were brought in by the lure of a real project rather than the colour green.
Del Neri perhaps deserves the most credit. Few wanted to take on the arduous task of converting a belittled Juventus side back into the Italian Champions they once were but the moustached mister was up for the challenge. Whilst Ciro Ferrara trifled with different formations to solve his problems last season, Del Neri stayed faithful to his tactical vision by maintaining a consistent shape and finding different ways to remedy emerging problems. He afforded youth a chance and introduced talented starlets such as Frederik Sorensen to the first team. He offered unconditional support to players, like Felipe Melo, in desperate need of confidence and consistency to developing ones such as Paolo De Ceglie, to make use of their full range of skills. Most importantly however, he exploited his psychological knowledge to motivate his troops to fight until the bitter end. The renowned Juventus mentality is back and as was seen against Milan, obstacles counted for little. With all the work he has done, two back-to-back heavy defeats are allowed to be chalked up to injuries and bad luck.
Lo Stile Juve is based on three principles: Elegance, professionalism and a winning attitude and all three have returned. As such, two less points than last season in a balanced league counts for little when a project is finally in place.