Are Juve's failings Ferrara's fault?
"I'm like Rocky. I get hit again and again, but I don't go down."
You know you're in trouble when you start comparing yourself to characters in movies. (Oh, and by the way, Rocky did go down -- plenty of times). But the under-fire Juve boss, the man drawing a parallel between himself and the Italian Stallion, does have a point: He has been subjected to a tremendous amount of abuse and, somehow, he's still in charge.
The case against Ferrara is easily argued. He took over a Juventus team that finished second in Italy's Serie A last season and didn't lose anybody of note over the summer. What's more, the club spent some $60 million to secure the services of Werder Bremen's
All those new signings might not have been enough to close the gap on Inter Milan but, at the very least, Juventus supporters were entitled to something better than a 12-point gap in the standings at this stage of the season. Especially since the Bianconeri were humiliatingly bounced from the Champions League by Bayern Munich in a horrible 4-1 home defeat.
Screw things up this badly and you lose your job, right? In some ways, yes. Although Ferrara does have a considerable list of mitigating factors. For a start, this is a badly-assorted team. That part isn't entirely Ferrara's fault; his inability to find a way to fix things probably is. If you spend big on a guy like Diego, you really have no choice but to build the team around him. Particularly since the Brazilian, while wonderfully skilled and creative, is only really productive when he's given a free role.
Well, Ferrara has tried Diego in a 4-3-1-2, a 4-2-3-1, a diamond and in a 4-4-1-1. And there were multiple personnel variations in each of those schemes, meaning Juventus basically hasn't had a settled XI nor a settled system all year long. Some level of trial and error is acceptable. Getting to January without a tactical identity is not.
Compounding the problem here is the actual personnel at his disposal. Diego supposedly is at his best when he has a striker in front of him and quality wingers on either side (i.e. the 4-2-3-1). Except, lo and behold, this is a team without wingers, except for
The net effect is that, even when Juve has won, whatever Ferrara comes up with looks forced and short-term. He hasn't been helped by the shockingly mediocre form shown by some of his (supposedly) best players.
And the there are the injuries. Iaquinta, Camoranesi,
So know what do you do? Do you give Ferrara more time and risk missing out on next season's Champions League (Sampdoria, Napoli and Roma are all lurking with intent)? Or do you go for a reliable interim boss (
Juventus' board gave Ferrara a vote of confidence on Wednesday, but it wasn't the type of gesture that inspired much faith. In fact, the impression is that Juve's front office has yet to decide what it wants to do. And it's this indecision which, frankly, is most troubling to supporters. This kind of thing didn't happen in the
That was probably the part that hurt most. Hearing Moggi's name ring out among the Ultras didn't just show they have zero faith in Ferrara. It was also depressing that these fans would rather have a man found guilty of racketeering running the show than an honest -- if, thus far, unspectacular -- coach like Ferrara.
If this isn't rock bottom, he's not far from it. Time to turn things around quickly. Because, as those of us who stuck it to