Mancini: Pirlo is lucky but a good choice for Juventus

By Sports Desk August 10, 2020

Andrea Pirlo is lucky to be starting his coaching career at Juventus, according to Roberto Mancini, but the Italy boss believes the club have made a good call.

Pirlo was appointed as Juve's new head coach on Saturday, a matter of hours after Maurizio Sarri was relieved of his duties.

Sarri led Juve to a ninth straight Serie A crown this season, but failed to improve their standing in the Champions League as they headed out on the away goals rule against Lyon in the last 16 on Friday.

The role is Pirlo's first as a coach and while Mancini feels the Italy great is fortunate to have landed such a high-profile job, he thinks it will prove to be an astute appointment.

"I did not expect Juventus to go out [of the Champions League]," Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was sure they would have advanced.

"But it was a terrible, unpredictable and difficult year. Especially for those who have made changes, like Juve. Sarri wasn't able to bring through his football.

"[Pirlo] is lucky. He starts from the top and with the best team. Maybe I didn't start from the bottom, but I started at Fiorentina, not with Juve.

"Jokes aside, if I was searching, I would have been looking at Andrea. He has great knowledge of football. Like [Daniele] De Rossi. I would have liked to work with him.

"There's always a first time. Andrea opens up a new path. Let's follow him. Good luck to him."

With Juve and Napoli exiting the Champions League in the last 16, only one Italian side – Atalanta – remain in the competition.

They go up against Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight and Mancini believes Atalanta can play with full confidence against the Ligue 1 champions.

"Let's calm down and think of PSG, who are a great team and have more experience," Mancini said.

"They are certainly not at the top. They have lost [Edinson] Cavani, will not have [Angel] Di Maria, [Marco] Verratti, [Kylian] Mbappe and some others who are in doubt.

"Their championship was stopped in March, but regardless of this, Atalanta have every right to play the quarter-final with confidence."

Related items

  • MLS: NYC rout Cincinnati after Mitrita makes history, Houston salvage point MLS: NYC rout Cincinnati after Mitrita makes history, Houston salvage point

    Alexandru Mitrita's brace inspired New York City to a 4-0 rout of FC Cincinnati in MLS, while Nashville surrendered a lead against Houston Dynamo.

    Mitrita led the way for New York after opening the scoring just 30 seconds into the match at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

    It was the fastest goal in New York's history and quickest in MLS since Allan Cruz's 28-second effort for Cincinnati in 2019, per Opta.

    After Cincinnati went close to equalising, Anton Tinnerholm doubled New York's lead from an acute angle in the 25th minute.

    Mitrita made it a brace two minutes before half-time and Jesus Medina completed the scoring with two minutes remaining as New York moved up to fifth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind fourth-placed Toronto.

    Elsewhere, Maynor Figueroa's 89th-minute equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw for Houston against Nashville.

    Daniel Rios' 49th-minute goal had Nashville on track for maximum points until Figueroa scored from a set-piece situation.

    Houston are ninth in the Western Conference, while Nashville sit ninth in the east.

  • Zidane celebrates LaLiga century with Madrid Zidane celebrates LaLiga century with Madrid

    Zinedine Zidane claimed his 100th LaLiga victory as Real Madrid head coach on Saturday.

    Zidane reached the century milestone in Madrid's thrilling 3-2 win over 10-man Real Betis.

    The French great, who celebrated his second LaLiga title in charge of Madrid last season, achieved the feat in 147 games.

    Zidane has the second-most league victories in Madrid's history, behind Miguel Munoz (257).

    In his second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, Zidane – whose first win came in January 2016 – has seen his Madrid team score 342 goals while only conceding 142.

    Madrid earned their first win of the 2020-21 season, following last week's stalemate against Real Sociedad.

    After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener for Madrid, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

    Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when captain Sergio Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

  • Zidane happy with squad as Madrid boss dismisses transfer talk after Betis win Zidane happy with squad as Madrid boss dismisses transfer talk after Betis win

    Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has no plans to sign new players before the transfer window shuts following his team's thrilling 3-2 win over Real Betis.

    Sergio Ramos scored a late penalty as LaLiga champions Madrid claimed their first win of the 2020-21 season at 10-man Betis on Saturday.

    After Federico Valverde's 14th-minute opener, Betis turned the match on its head with two goals in three minutes via Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho prior to half-time.

    Barcelona-owned Emerson scored an own goal three minutes into the second half before being sent off with 23 minutes remaining, and Madrid made the most of their numerical advantage when Ramos converted an 82nd-minute penalty.

    Zidane was asked about Madrid's transfer activity pre-game, with the Spanish giants quiet since the market re-opened, having allowed the likes of Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Brahim Diaz to leave.

    Quizzed again on possible new signings post-match, Zidane told reporters: "No. We spoke about this before. I'm happy with the squad that I've got.

    "We are what we are and we're going to try to have a successful season."

    Reflecting on the match itself following Madrid's goalless draw against Real Sociedad in their season opener, Zidane said: "When you're behind it's difficult to change the dynamics of the game but we managed it today. It's crucial to do that every once in a while.

    "We had a lot of chances, and people we talk about how we don't score enough but today we hit three and could have had more. I'm very proud of all the players, they're working brilliantly. We have to keep it up."

    "The referee is there to review the action," added Zidane after Betis defender Marc Bartra was penalised for handball. "I think that in the end it's just what happened. He's in charge. I never get involved with the referees and I'm not going to get involved today. The most important thing for us is the game we played at a difficult ground.

    "We can be happy with the work done, we had to work hard for it and we managed to take all three points, which is the most important thing."

    "In the end it was a very complicated, difficult game," he said. "The players have given their all. It's three very important points for us at a complicated ground and against a team who have just won their first two games. We are happy. We know there is a long way to go and that we can and will improve."

    Zidane also handed a rare start to out-of-favour forward Luka Jovic, who continues to be linked with a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Jovic – playing alongside Karim Benzema – was tripped when through on goal as Emerson was shown a red card past the hour-mark, and Zidane said: "What I was looking for was to play in the opposition's half with a different formation.

    "We can play in different ways and one of them is with the two forwards. We can be happy with the game because in the end we got all three points."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.