TURIN, ITALY – APRIL 20: Adrien Rabiot of Juventus celebrates with team mates after scoring to give … [+] the side what would have been a 2-0 lead, had his effort not been disallowed for offside during the Coppa Italia Semi Final 2nd Leg match between Juventus FC v ACF Fiorentina at Allianz Stadium on April 20, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)
It wasn’t a pretty Juventus performance, but it didn’t have to be.
Faced with the attacking verve of Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia semi final second leg, Juve entrenched themselves in their half, keeping Vincenzo Italiano’s probing side at bay, waiting for the opportune time to strike.
And when they did strike, they made it count.
Goals from Federico Bernardeschi and Danilo secured Juve’s passage to their seventh Italian cup final in eight seasons, with only the 2019 edition being the one not to feature The Old Lady since 2014.
It was the kind of performance we’d come to expect from Juve this season. Max Allegri’s appointment last summer has seen the club revert to basics, to the old DNA of the club after the failed experiments with more adventurous styles of play under Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo.
Allegri has come in for criticism for his more pragmatic brand of football this season, with Juve conceding possession in a lot of games, even against teams that are smaller and less well equipped. Against Villarreal in the Champions League, Allegri took a similar approach despite Juve making nearly triple the amount of revenue than the Spanish side.
Villarreal won 3-0 in Turin in the second leg and dumped Juve out at the round of 16 for the third straight season.
There are those who suggest that given the talent in the Juve squad, that Allegri should be implementing a more expansive style of play, but in defence of Allegri, the current squad he has at his disposal is a mishmash of impressive youngsters and older senators, with some players in the middle of that spectrum.
The likes of Dusan Vlahovic, Matthijs de Ligt and Federico Chiesa represent the future of the side, but the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are coming to the end of their careers. Then you have players like Adrien Rabiot, Alvaro Morata, Arthur and Bernardeschi, all of whom face uncertain futures, and you can see why Allegri opts for the most cautious approach.
This season could shape up to be the first trophy-less one in over a decade. The defeat to Inter in the latest Derby d’Italia signalled the end of Juve’s faint title ambitions, and the two sides will meet again in the final of the Coppa Italia at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on May 11. Not since the days of Luigi Delneri, Milos Krasic and Felipe Melo in 2010/11 have Juve ended a season without a piece of silverware.
Yet while there is pressure on Allegri, the objective is still to finish in the top four and secure Champions League football next season. There’s also a recognition from those within the club that major signings are needed this summer to restructure the squad and give Allegri the players he needs for a tilt at the title next season. This was always going to be a campaign of transition, but the pressure at Juve to always win something is ever present, and if Allegri finishes the season empty-handed, it will only ramp up the pressure on him ahead of 2022/23.
Allegri has never endured a season at Juventus that didn’t end in him winning a trophy, in fact in every season in his previous stint at the club he won the domestic double, except for his last. This is a man accustomed to winning. Following the victory against Fiorentina, he remarked that he will stay at the club for the remainder of his contract, which has a further three years to run on it.
Should Juve give Allegri the tools he needs to succeed, history tells us that it won’t be long before The Old Lady is back to her dominant self, but until then, a potential Coppa Italia victory will suffice for what has been a very difficult season.


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