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‘Sarri learned that winning isn’t enough at Juventus’ – Zola feels for former Chelsea boss but backs Pirlo to succeed

18:35 BST 12/09/2020
Maurizio Sarri Napoli Juventus
A man who worked alongside Sarri at Stamford Bridge admits that the Serie A title is not enough to satisfy the demands of an ambitious outfit

Gianfranco Zola concedes that Maurizio Sarri, a man he worked with at Chelsea, has found out the hard way that winning is not always enough at Juventus.

The Bianconeri took an Italian tactician back to his homeland in the summer of 2019.

One season at Stamford Bridge had delivered a Europa League triumph, but Sarri found the lure of Turin too great to turn down.

He was fully aware of the demands that would be placed on him at the Allianz Stadium and Sarri delivered another Serie A title for Juve, but such success is expected rather than longed for by the dominant force in Italian football.

The Champions League has taken on added importance for the Bianconeri, with European glory having proved elusive since 1996.

Sarri was unable to bring about a reversal in fortune on the continental front, and ended up paying the price with his job.

Zola feels for a coach he knows well, but is not surprised to see Juve moving in a different direction.

He told Corriere della Sera: “I’m a little sorry for him and his group, I worked with him for a year at Chelsea and it was very important for me.

“We talked about it with Maurizio, that Juventus are a demanding team and sometimes it’s not even enough to win.

“There are many requirements that must be met.”

Zola added on Sarri’s style of football, which attracted criticism from some quarters: “It is not true that Sarri did not defend, indeed all of his work starts from there. 

“But it's a different way to defend, in a much more advanced area of ​​the pitch. 

“It is a necessary evolution: look at Bayern, where they put pressure on at 1-0 in the 85th minute in the Champions League final, risking something. Old school fans may not like it, but football goes on.”

After moving on from Sarri, Juventus have passed their managerial baton to the familiar face of Andrea Pirlo.

A club legend is filling the first top job of his career to date, having only retired in 2017, but Zola believes a man fully versed in the demands of life at the Bianconeri can live up to expectations.

The former Italy international added: “I went to West Ham without ever having coached and I know what that means.

“We are talking about a champion who had superior knowledge of the game.

“Andrea must grow up quickly, choosing him was very courageous and it could become a brilliant move.”