The Pirlo disaster!
The Andrea Pirlo experiment is close to being shut down after the rookie coach suffered another damaging defeat in Juventus’ pursuit of Champions League football.
Pirlo, a playing legend in Italy, showed his tactical naivety in a 3-0 defeat to AC Milan, which leaves top-four qualification out of Juventus’ hands with three games remaining.
Having won the previous nine Serie A titles prior to this season, missing out on the top four - and the Champions League next season - would be as reputationally damaging as it is financially.
Not since 2011-12, Antonio Conte’s first year in charge, have Juventus been without Champions League football but with a tricky run-in of Sassuolo, Inter Milan and Bologna remaining, it is a distinct possibility.
Pirlo and his players have been heavily criticised and labelled an ‘embarrassment’ given the wealth of success that came before them.
Sportsmail breaks down what missing out on the Champions League would mean for Pirlo, the club accounts and the future of star man Cristiano Ronaldo.
There have been times this season where Pirlo has given the impression of a man with seven lives.
Plenty felt he should have been axed after Champions League elimination to Porto but as Andrea Agnelli stood by him it was hoped that faith would be rewarded.
Pirlo has reportedly already sealed his destiny and he will not be in charge of Juventus come the end of the season.
According to Tuttosport, Juventus has already made a decision on the future of the head coach but it is not yet clear if he will be axed immediately or at the conclusion of the campaign.
Speaking after defeat to AC Milan, Pirlo promised to continue giving maximum effort until he is shown the door by his superiors.
‘My desire to be a coach does not change not even after this defeat. I will continue to do so,’ he told Sky Sport Italia.
‘I don’t expect anything. I spoke with the club before and after the match and I am willing to accept any decision.
I am the Juventus manager at the moment and in the end the club will make decisions.
‘If I didn’t succeed it means that I did something wrong. I am convinced of the choice I made in saying “yes” to Juventus.
I had to adapt to certain situations, with the players I had available, with certain players it is difficult to play a certain type of football.’
Even with this disastrous season to digest, the job would be highly coveted and Massimiliano Allegri, Zinedine Zidane and Gian Piero Gasperini would all be in the frame. If Pirlo has taught Juventus anything it is that experience is priceless.
One of his biggest problems has been his lack of a tactical philosophy; a lack of ideas and a lack of ability to manage the team in decisive moments of the season.
Pirlo’s preferred 4-4-2 formation has proven ineffective with the players at his disposal.
The team inherited from Allegri and Sarri was built on 4-3-3 but Pirlo has distorted the tactical DNA and created a short circuit which has suffocated this side of creativity.
Juventus managed just one shot on target against AC Milan from 16 attempts and while the midfield has badly let Pirlo down, he has shown an inability to solve problems on the fly. - Daily Mail