Allegri on his main principles as a coach, why Ibrahimović was pissed off at Milan, Piątek’s struggles and more…

Massimiliano Allegri during Sampdoria-Juventus at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on May 26, 2019. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Massimiliano Allegri gave a very long and interesting interview to Polish outlet Przegląd Sportowy about how he sees football, the role of the coach, making changes in the formation and about the main Polish players of Serie A.

Allegri was the last coach that brought Milan the Scudetto, as he won the title in 2010/11. Massimiliano was fired in 2014 and since then, the Rossoneri have had 8 different coaches and failed to reach the Champions League time after time.

After leaving Milan, Allegri went to Juventus and achieved great success: winning five Scudetti in a row and reaching two Champions League finals. Now, the 52-year-old is without a club and while there are many exciting football markets for him to explore, he’s likely to choose England as his next destination.

“I don’t speak English enough yet, but I’m learning,” he joked as he was the guest of an event organized by the Polish Football Coaches Association, AEFCA (Alliance of European Football Coaches’ Association) and the Polish Football Federation this week, as reported by Przegląd Sportowy.

Massimiliano Allegri during Juventus-Torino at Juventus Stadium on May 3, 2019. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Allegri then went on to talk about the main principles that he follows in his work as a coach:

“If you want to do everything, you won’t any anything. I can’t simultaneously act as a doctor, physiotherapist, physical preparation trainer, etc… I have no idea about most of these things. So my principle is to surround myself with smart people. From a young age, I learned from my colleagues and players. Without the help of the locker room I would never have developed like this. When I enter a club, I get to know the situation, meet people and then delegate tasks to them. When you’re a coach of a certain level, you have the privilege of choosing high- quality specialists. Why not use them…? Putting everything on yourself would be prideful and a mistake. If a coach thinks he is the smartest in the room, he will fall. The head coach must have solutions to problems, whoever finds them the fastest wins. A harmonious environment will help unravel them. It’s great wisdom to share responsibilities with others. It’s easier and other feel their contribution to the mission.

Massimiliano Allegri celebrating after winning the Scudetto at the end of Roma-Milan at Stadio Olimpico on May 7, 2011. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

“There are two ways to be a good coach: being an authoritarian and being a liberal. I prefer the latter, so I listen more than I say. Thanks to this strategy, I receive more information from the outside that positively changes my world. I keep denying my own concepts, I am arguing with myself, I’m putting my opinion into polemics. If I think that something is 100 per cent good, I worry and consult with the environment. I can adapt to the situation I find myself in. When I came to Juventus replacing Antonio Conte, many thought that I was screwed, that Juventus was burned out, that the winning cycle is over because the team was saturated. The situation was not perfect, but I found a team requiring rebuilding. It’s exciting, but I also risked failure, and Juventus is a not a place when the latter endures. That’s why I had to look for ways to stimulate the group. I listened and changed, I did not carry out any revolutions. First the details, then the bigger project. You always have to set yourself three types of objectives: short, medium and long term. It’s like getting to the right room, the door can stand open a few meters from you and then you are there for a while; other doors are located at the end of the corridor, on different floors or in a different building. Then the road will take more time.

Massimiliano Allegri during a press conference at Juventus Stadium on April 15, 2019. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

“At Juventus, I started with a tactic of four defenders. We worked a lot and intensively on this functioning, but after two months I got into the coaches’ room and said that we were doing a bad job and that we have to change our approach by 180 degrees. I saw that my original plan was not working the way I wanted, so I watched to a three central defenders. I adapted because I had world-class players for it. The change was in favor. In the first season I brought Patrice Evra to Turin. I was a bit disappointed with his defensive skills; in England he looked better in this respect. But we worked individually and he improved. Besides, I thought he was fit to play as a wingback and that’s why he fit into the 3-5-2 system. Dani Alves was also great, an already experienced player with great skills and still insatiable, a phenomenon, a gigantic character.

Massimiliano Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti before Napoli-Juventus at Stadio San Paolo on March 3, 2019. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

“I changed my formation many times, also during the match, because one of the foundations of my work is constant stimulation. I changed it when the players expected that we’d play in the same way since we had won. Stimulating them to work, introducing uncertainty and competition for a place, was fundamental to make the players feel hungry year after year. At the same time, you must have hierarchy in the locker room, so that the leaders know that they are very important, even when they are on the bench in a few games. Last season I used 38 different formations. I could play four strikers when the situation required it. I listened and I was not afraid that my players wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Massimiliano Allegri and Marcello Lippi during the FIGC Hall of Fame 2019 on May 20, 2019. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

“My tactical gymnastics, using even several variants during a match, was associated with the fact that I had very good and intelligent players. There are reasons why one player costs €2m, the other €20m and the third €200m. You pay for football talent, but also for knowing how to learn. If you have smart players in the dressing room then you can play with any set-up. However, you don’t have the right to require a player, who ranks 6 on a scale from 1-10, to play at the highest level. At most, he can give you 6+. For example, Simone Padoin will never be Andrea Pirlo. We were playing Roma and I had personnel problems, so I put Simone in the middle of the pitch next to Paul Pogba. We lost. People were telling me that I wanted to make Padoin into Andrea – why put him in this position if he’s not suitable for it. I was patching holes and I disagreed with this sentence, Padoin played well like I expected. The fact is simply that he’s not Pirlo. At Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimović was pissed off because others could not keep up with his way of thinking. For two years I explained to him that others do not play like him, he had to understand that. The coach should demand from the player to give as much as he can offer. This is why Mario Mandžukić is a special player for me. He gave me an incredible amount of room for maneuver. Great player. He often changed clubs, so he got a patch for being difficult… I wouldn’t call him that. He’s specific, but I got to him. He stayed in one club for five years and this is one of my biggest successes.

Massimiliano Allegri and Zlatan Ibrahimović during a press conference at Milanello on November 2, 2010. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

“An outstanding Italian basketball coach once described the spot as very simple: the ball must reach from one to the other jerseys of the same color. I think the same about football, let’s not complicate it too much. My briefings do not last long: one video clip up to 5 minutes, and during the half-time break I speak for about 3 minutes. Afterwards the level of concentration drops. Of course, tactics matter, but players win the game. If you have great players then the role of the coach is not to spoil anything along the way. You need to reach heads, properly manage people, react to problems… a club is a living matter. During my five years at Juventus, every week was different, I couldn’t rely on the same rules. Psychology is more important than numbers. If you don’t get inside a player, don’t buy him, no formations will help. A team strength is the strength of individuals. It is much more important to build a single player than to focus on the team, the sum of the players ready to make makes a great team.”

Massimiliano Allegri celebrating with the Scudetto trophy at the end of Juventus-Atalanta on May 19, 2019. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

After the presentation, Allegri also gave an interview to Przegląd Sportowy: “Why did I decide to bring Wojciech Szczęsny back to Juve? He is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. We had him under observation when he was on loan at Roma. He instantly became the leading goalkeeper in Serie A. We knew that he looked great both technically and physically. He impressed with one more parameter – mentality. So we chose him to be the successor of Gigi Buffon, and we were not disappointed.

“The pressure to replace a club legend was enormous? Wojciech didn’t have much of a problem with that. He didn’t feel any stress because of that. He got into Gigi’s shoes and managed to keep up with the expectations. The circumstances also drove him to work. He fits the Juventus profile, where you always fight for the highest objectives and there is no room for many mistakes. He’s cool, he is focused on his targets and he wants to win. It’s hard to get him off balance. He was ready when he got to Turin and he developed at Juventus. He is top class in his position.

Massimiliano Allegri and Wojciech Szczęsny during a press conference at Stade de Suisse on December 11, 2018. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Why are there so many Polish players in Italy? You [the Polish] made a jump in quality. This can be seen in the results of the national team, you regularly go to big tournaments. Football is made of cycles and you have a very good time now after a weaker period when you didn’t play a significant role in football. You are also raising young players yourself better and better, so it pays to buy them quickly. A few years ago, talented players came to Serie A and showed that they can work hard, are modest, do not create problems and can quickly give a lot on the pitch. They made Poland a strong brand. A certain trend began, because if one club succeeded with that then why not another…? It’s worth investing in a Polish player.

“Krzysztof Piątek is a great proof for this? Last season he showed what he can do. He was a great surprise. He amazed everyone with his entrance to Serie A, because this doesn’t happen very often. He’s having a worse moment, but the drop had to happen. Now he must confirm that he’s not a one-year surprise. Getting out of such a crisis is a good lesson. He’s a very good striker, so he should manage it.

Massimiliano Allegri during Sampdoria-Juventus at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on May 26, 2019. (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

“If it often said about Piotr Zieliński that he can give more at Napoli and in the national team? I see him as a great player, he has excellent technique. He sees a lot on the pitch, he breaks out of the box. For a coach, such a player is very valuable. He can play in any position, not everything is reflected in numbers. He is one of the most complete midfielders in Serie A. If maybe Zieliński has problems in his head with taking responsibility? I am unable to assess whether he needs to do a leap mentally because I haven’t coached him, I wasn’t in the same dressing room as him. Technically and physically he is a complete player.

“Robert Lewandowski, who rules in Europe at the beginning of the season, certainly doesn’t have such problems? In his case, I will not say anything new. He’s an amazing player, impressive in every aspect. He is a titan in his position, his great disposition this season has overshadowed others but he’s long been one of the top three strikers in the world.”

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If Milan management was serious they would have signed Allegri. What a shame. Until we have a serious owner that wants titles and not settle for UCL qualification we will not improve.


Allegri going back to Milan would be unlikely. They would be asking him to pick up all the broken pieces since he was fired. Milan have good people directing now and need to get the highest profile manager who is willing to accept what is fast becoming a poisoned chalice. It is a huge ask for a top manager to take the reins of a huge club with huge expectations but with a stuttering and mentally weak squad. Pioli is not a high profile coach with a reputation to lose, no disrespect meant, but a coach in his position will… Read more »


Totally get your point. Milan must plan on being champions rather than competing for CL qualification. For a club of this status it makes no sense to have that mindset.

However, I truly hope that Elliott Fund sell Milan to a wealthy buyer who can invest a lot. I believe their plan is to clear all Milan’s current debt and sell for a profit. Which is why I don’t believe they will invest too much in players.


Exact opposite of the guy who just got sacked in that he prefers to work on each individual. Though I didn’t approve of most of his decisions while he was still at Milan, he’s proven himself a good coach at Juve.


So your biggest achievement was to put already proven world class players together and continue what they had achieved before? No player development? Or was it that mandzukic decided to stay in your club RUBENTUS for 5 years?? Passive coach. If you were good enough, RUBENTUS would not get rid of you. We all know how all of their club legends protested that if the management keep you they will quit! Now go back to them. You were never a Milanisti. and never a smart coach. All your so called success ends there in serie A which is nowhere near… Read more »


“continue what they had achieved before?” u mean like how the treble winners inter continued to dominate under rafa? who won serie a that season again? “continue what they had achieved before?“ i didnt know juve had been ucl finals regulars before allegri came along. there is no shame in losing vs 2 absolute best teams who had 2 absolute best players of this decade. besides, juve have always been ucl’s biggest loser. hell, i’ve seen juve lost ucl finals 5 times already in my time. if anything, if milan are aiming for 4th place to qf for ucl then… Read more »


Well said Milan10. I agree 100%.


, I am 100% in agreement with you on this. Too many senseless comments here tend to add to Milan’s problems


seriously mate, at this point i really miss sheva, ck, suracho and some others. at least with them we knew they’re just trolling


I agree with Rosoleo, he’s the only winning milan coach that doesnt convince me.. his decision in milan were terrible, i remember reading pirlo’s free departure under his tenure.. yes we won scudetto with him, but its largely ibra and silva. he like to signs veterans, i remember milan were called the home of retirement back thn, he also play passive football which is excruciating. In juve case he already have so many champions at his disposal, add that with milan-inter-roma struggles, napoli is the only one who stands a chance, its not a miracle juve won the scudetto. So… Read more »


“I’d rather have sheva or pioli or any new “high potential” guy than allegri” lol u could just say “hi, i am proud member of les midtables, and im not even the brightest crayon in les midtables large boxset.” we would hear u loud and clear. if winning 6 league titles in 9 years is so easy when u have great squad then why did ance failed to do it at bayern? or conte or mou (twice) at chelsea? hell, many football pundits regarded sacchi’s milan as greatest club side of all time yet they only won 1 scudetto. so,… Read more »


Srsly, you only read that? What about the milan inter roma struggles i wrote? Im also didnt talk about juve mgmt.. and havent you read what pirlo wrote? He tried to put 2 players in front defense and take pirlo position while we all know hes the milan’s main playmaker at that time, and no i didnt talk about ance or conte or mou, they have different preferences, im talking about allegri. By all means 6 scudetti is hard, but at that time we have champions, did u look at our squad right now? Its mid tables! Now its my… Read more »


We are in this because of Berlusconi Galliani and you Allegri


yeah, the last time milan won serie a and qf for ucl was when allegri was in charge. screw allegri, screw scudetto, and fvck u in ur big ears ucl!


I’m a fan of Allegri. If not to Milan, please go to La Liga or EPL so I can have 3 teams that I will watch every week. The second team now is Brescia.


u mean u only watch milan and brescia (lemme guess, because of that discount pirlo wannabe?) every week mate?
ajax, psv, dortmund, bayern, bunch of epl and la ligay teams, hell even serie a top 6 teams are fantastic u know. why would u torture urself like that mate? its not healthy u know