29.06.2017 14:30 - in: The team S

      The game according to Max

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      The man behind the coach: Massimiliano Allegri speaks about his career, methods and outlook on the game

      The curiosities of our sport, the past, the future, his hometown of Livorno; topics of conversation were not in short supply when Massimiliano Allegri sat down with Sky Sport Italia's Paolo Condò this week.

      In a special extended interview, Allegri revealed a fascinating look into the man behind the coach and what makes him tick about the beautiful game.


      "Playing and coaching are two very different jobs. When you hang you up your boots, the first thing you need to do is understand what you want to do and above all work out if you have the skills to do it.

      "The mental side of football is absolutely critical whether as a manager or a player. A good player by definition cannot be a good player if they do not have the right mental and emotional balance.

      "The disappointing defeats, the sackings, the difficult moments, they all need to be taken with a pinch of salt; all of them are crucial in eventually rising to the top of your sport. The rest is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time." 


      "I learned my trade lower down the pyramid, working at clubs that were in financial difficulty or were without equipment for a training session, and those experiences taught me a lot.

      "It's in those situations where you can really test yourself and build your team: when you have a pitch, a ball and two goals, that's when your work begins without worrying about anything else off the pitch."


      "Ultimately, ours is a very simple game: you need good players and you need to know how to pass the ball. I smile to myself after the game when people talk about refereeing decisions, stats and formations.

      "We tend to focus on the irrelevant things too often in this sport, overlooking the spectacular saves, dribbles or passes that deserve our attention."


      "From 2014, you could sense the strength of this club. Naturally, pockets of supporters needing winning over because they had a special relationship with Antonio Conte but looking at the squad I took on, I knew right from the start that we would continue to win. 

      "The goal for my first season was to not change too much, retain the Scudetto and begin to grow our profile in Europe. The backline I inherited could already play as a three or as a four; we are talking about some of the best defenders in the world.

      "Funnily enough, I had more or less just retired when Barzagli was taking his first steps in the game; I remember telling him that if he continued playing as a midfielder, he wouldn't get out of Lega Pro (Serie C) and to play 15 metres deeper..."


      "Our second season was not easy by any stretch of the imagination; we faced some significant deaprtures in the summer and we had to find a way of blending the experienced heads in the dressing room with a host of new faces.

      "Nonetheless, I believed that we would win the Scudetto again and I told the players as much immediately. It made me laugh that people were saying that Juve were finished at the start of the season.

      "That poor beginning to the campaign did a world of good for us, going on to win 25 matches in a row was extraordinary and a feat that is unlikely to be repeated.

      "The secret was to ignore the league table and focus only on the team directly above us every single week."

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