Felice Tufano says he’s as ambitious as ever to lead his Allievi Nazionali to success this year.
Having begun the 2014/15 campaign with five victories in their first six games, the youngsters are enjoying a rich vein of form and now sit top of the table, a point above closest rivals Empoli.
Speaking exclusively to Jtv, the former Alessandria coach began by revealing the secret to success behind his starlets’ stellar to the season: “Up until now, I’ve been very happy with how things have gone in terms of the progress made on a weekly basis, my own personal development as a coach and how the lads are getting on.
“They’re a very dedicated and professional bunch during training. You can start to see the results of their hard work out on the pitch and it’s very satisfying to see them put these improvements into practice during the game.”
Following last week’s 2-0 victory over Genoa in Liguria, his Allievi Nazionali have flown to London where they are taking part in the U17 International Cup 14/15.
During their time in the English capital, they face off against Tottenham and Everton before returning to Italy for Sunday’s domestic game with Sassuolo. And Tufano was excited by the prospect of taking his charges into battle for what should be an interesting couple of days.
“We put all our focus into the growth of these kids: the club gives us this fantastic opportunity to take part in a two-day tournament full of teams of immense quality. It will be a test for the lads and irrespective of going on to become a professional footballer or not, it will be an unforgettable experience for them.”
More of Tufano’s interview can be found here:
You go into the tournament in great form following last weekend’s victory against Genoa.
“The win aside, it was a great performance from the boys. Of course, in the league results allow you to build a run which creates a good state of form and improves the team’s self-confidence. These are essential factors for their continuous development on a day-to-day basis.”
Give us a bit of insight into the way you set the team out to play.
“It’s all about playing on the front foot with important characters that know how to play as a collective. It’s always immensely satisfying to see the players grow, and there’s also the added incentive of hopefully seeing them turn out for professional sides in future. I like this style of play in its entirety – in terms of tactics and technique that comprise intensity and individual intelligence. This is what football is for me. I’m not a big fan of employing long-ball tactics.”
Where does the passion come from to teach this amazing sport?
“I’ve been out on the pitch ever since I was six-years-old, and I’ve been lucky enough to take this passion into a career as a footballer. Even if I was unable to reach the dizzy heights of Serie A, I still managed to fulfill many objectives for some decent sides.
“I then began taking training sessions but I didn’t consider coaching during my playing days. In my final two seasons, however, I plied my trade with a local team and they asked me to take over a kids’ side without a manager. They instilled this enthusiasm to manage in me, and from there my journey began within the youth sector, plus six or seven seasons in and around first teams. I succeeded and I’m still here, hungry and dedicated to pass on my wisdom to these kids.”
Is there a difference in the way youngsters train compared to the first team?
“Definitely. In the first team, you only work towards getting results – they’re important at our level too but not as vital. Managing adults is different to how you deal with kids, even if I’d have to say my way of training remained the same even when I was in charge of a senior side. I’m still a lover of football and the beautiful game, and I’ve tried to keep my identity in the various groups I’ve managed. These are all experiences that help you to grow, make fewer mistakes and even use errors as motivation in order to try and do the best you can at your job.”
What’s your feeling as you enter Juventus Stadium to watch the game with your team?
“I’m always thinking about those who are on the pitch: the stadium provides a fascinating environment to play in. It’s exciting and motivating. It’s impossible for a player to step out on matchdays and not feel the adrenaline emanating from all four corners of the stadium. It’s both fantastic and enchanting seeing all those people who don’t stop cheering from the first whistle to the last. It’s a unique feeling.”