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Highlights on Off The Ball

Andrea Pirlo's 'Eureka' moment & the Maurizio Sarri paradox

Andrea Pirlo never wanted to be a football coach until he applied for a course almost at random, ...

Andrea Pirlo's 'Eureka' moment...

Andrea Pirlo's 'Eureka' moment & the Maurizio Sarri paradox

Andrea Pirlo never wanted to be a football coach until he applied for a course almost at random, according to Italian football journalist James Horncastle.

Maurizio Sarri was sacked as Juventus manager on Saturday, after defeat by Lyon in the Champions League Round of 16 on Friday night, with Andrea Pirlo taking his place.

But what is it that has seen Sarri win trophies at his last two clubs, and leave almost immediately after?

There have been questions over the last few days, as we look at Sarri's time at Juventus and Chelsea wholesale, as to Sarri's personality. He is known to demand high levels of concentration and appreciation for his instruction, but does this suit players a little further down the pyramid, instead of those at its apex?

"I think that one of the reasons that people warm to him is that he is so genuine, but perhaps - at this level - it is better to be guarded," said Horncastle.

"It might be better to be a bit more diplomatic and not always say what is on your mind. I know that players and directors appreciate honesty, but there are certain things that can be said in a certain way [to get the message across in the right manner.]"

The Bianconeri fanbase had lost patience with Sarri's methods and the defeat against Lyon raised the pressure to an intolerable level. Horncastle recognises a paradox with the last two seasons of Sarri's career.

"If you take the temperature of the fanbase at Chelsea and Juventus, it doesn't reflect what is down on paper. He has been successful - he has won things and yet they are dissatisfied.

"As he has become a winner, he has become less popular."

Andrea Pirlo

Horncastle believes that we are unlikely to see the conditions that Sarri took over at Napoli at another club, but attention must now turn to Juve's new manager - Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo had shown little interest in coaching, despite having the kind of louche playmaking style that appears to be mirrored in Pep Guardiola and Xavi.

It turns out that he almost entered the profession on a whim, having outlined in his autobiography that he did not anticipate going into coaching.

"He spoke at his unveiling [of the under-23s job] about enrolling for his coaching badges more out of curiosity and something to do with his mates. That was rather than this burning desire.

"Then he said that while he was doing the course, something sparked within him, and he hasn't been able to think about anything since. He went from wondering which pastel-coloured shirt to wear with a blazer, or which wine to pair with pasta, to what he would do with a player's position. He said it was what he would think about as he went to sleep.

"Clearly, the latent coach within Pirlo has suddenly emerged. Juventus have said that they were impressed by the presentation that he gave when he was looking for the under-23 job.

"I think he has the kind of charisma and ideas to make a success of this appointment."

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Andrea Pirlo Juve Juventus Maurizio Sarri Pirlo Sarri