Juventus Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta was a guest on Rai Due‘s La Domenica Sportiva yesterday. Here’s what he said with respect to team performance, his relationship with Conte, and the bianconeri’s future:
Looking at the table, you’re probably not too displeased to see Inter so far behind…
“Beyond Inter there are strong teams: Roma, who came from a long undefeated streak, then Napoli and Fiorentina. With 20 matches to go there are 60 points available. Our advantage is not significant in definitive terms”.
Two months ago some people said that Juventus was weaker than last year. Instead this team and their coach blocked Roma on the wings and continue to surprise…
“Roma’s extraordinary start put Juventus in the shadows. But to this day we only lost and tied one game and won the rest. Thus, like last year, our start was difficult. Now we present ourselves in the same position as last season, which must be ascribed with great merit to Conte and his men. In the last 10 games Juventus scored 26 goals and allowed only 1”.
Does Juventus’ early exit from the Champions League spur you on to go on this streak and win your third consecutive scudetto?
“The third consecutive scudetto is our primary objective as set from the beginning of the season. The Champions League exit left us quite displeased but our current streak came about organically”.
At the Juventus Stadium you have won 36 of 47, scored 102 goals and allowing only 26: are scudetti built in your home stadium?
“I must say yes. This is the characteristic of great teams. In front of our own fans we have an additional push. The fact that we own our stadium also means that we (the fans, the club and the players) have a sense of belonging. The fact that people are close to the pitch facilitates the spectator in becoming a 12th man. This gives us additional inspiration. Besides that, I believe that the team has done very well away from home, a trend that continues on for three consecutive years now”.
How long will Conte’s reign last at Juventus?
“It would be nice to go against the grain and have Conte stay on for as long as Ferguson and Wenger. In Italy this phenomenon is not as prevalent mainly due to the great tension from the fanbase. Conte’s reign started in a triumphant way in that he won the scudetto in his first season, as well as the Supercoppa Italiana and qualified for the Coppa Italia final. He has the full support of the club brass and I believe that he has the right kind of autonomy, authority and latitude to manage the technical component, which is his natural habitat. I hope we can continue as we are”.
Is this the best Juventus, ever, or is Serie A not what it used to be?
“The record says that we have had important numbers, we are Italy’s leading team two years running, and it still is today. It’s difficult to make comparisons because football is in continuous evolution, thus we need to compare in relation to our adversaries. I would say that not only is the team strong, but it develops collective game play. Juventus can compete at a European level, even though we were eliminated”.
Juve’s already competitive as they are?
“Last year this team arrived at the quarterfinals, but we were eliminated because the Champions League is a tournament, not a league, thus if you make a mistake or play a bad game you risk being eliminated. We put faith in the last game against Galatasaray in which the weather didn’t allow us to play our game”.
Was the disagreement with Conte on the sale of Matri and Giaccherini resolved? Did you fear that it would have led to Conte’s departure?
“No I never feared that. These dynamics are synonymous with great transparency, which are common between a coach and the club. Clearly, the club tries to please the coach’s requests but also tries to achieve an optimal sporting result that takes into consideration financial equilibrium. Thus, it’s evident that coaches cannot always be contented. Beyond this our relationship with Conte is excellent”.
Doesn’t Juventus need a more offensive mentality to compete in the Champions League?
“We started this four-year term with the coming of Agnelli. After a settling period we achieved Champions League qualification and we did well, losing only to the eventual champions. This year is a bit of an anomaly. Clearly this group of players can still improve: we added a quality player every year, and will continue to do so. Juventus wants to win and be competitive. This, however, goes hand-in-hand with the organization’s growing process. Our revenues are growing, thanks also to the fact that we’ve consistently grown the resources available to the club. The fact that we participated in the Champions League guarantees important revenues, but we’re not at the level of great clubs: we aim to get there as our first objective. Our second objective is to grow in quality with a skilled coach like Conte”.
What is the importance of your youth sector in your growth?
“The youth sector must have notable importance in any club. We are working a lot on this. Clearly, when you have short-term objectives – like we did – it’s hard to integrate youth players into our senior team because we have a consolidated group, one that wants to win quickly”.