Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend
The coaches of the two Milan clubs both faced uncertain futures after a dramatic ending to Serie A which saw Inter Milan sneak into next season’s Champions League and AC Milan miss out.
WHERE NEXT FOR ALLEGRI?
Massimiliano Allegri gave little away about his future after his five-year reign as Juventus coach ended in a 2-0 defeat at Sampdoria.
“I will chose a job where I can have fun and get important results,” he said. “I’m leaving without regrets, I’ve done my best and I want to thank everyone for these years. I’m leaving a Juventus team who have an excellent chance of winning a ninth successive Serie A title.”
“I haven’t had any offers so I might stop for one year…..it doesn’t worry me as I’ve been working for 16 years in a row.”
WHO NEXT FOR JUVENTUS?
According to Turin-based Tuttosport, Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri remains the favourite to replace Allegri, ahead of Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi.
Juventus director Fabio Paratici, meanwhile, denied reports that the club had tried to woo Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, describing the suggestion as “strange.”
Other options, according to Italian media, include Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino and Bologna’s Sinisa Mihajlovic.
“We have clear ideas and are evaluating the situation,” said Paratici. “Until all the competitions have concluded, it seems only fair to remain quiet, out of respect for everyone.”
“We don’t want to make a fuss or look better than everyone else, we just want to build the best possible team.
SPALLETTI’S FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN
Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti’s future is uncertain despite leading them into the Champions League for the second year in a row after a dramatic 2-1 win over Empoli.
Inter left it late, with Radja Nainggolan’s goal giving them the win they needed with nine minutes to spare as they finished in the fourth and final Champions League slot, pipping neighbours AC Milan by one point.
Spalletti himself did not give a clear answer after the match, amid widespread speculation that the club have reached a deal with former Juventus and Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.
“I’m in the role that I want to be in and I’m behaving the way I want to, so I’m calm,” he said.
Spalletti also remembered that Juventus initially guaranteed Massimiliano Allegri would remain with the club, only to part company with him one month later.
“(Juventus president) Andrea Agnelli said nothing would change and then everything changed,” he said. “I think you can learn from that behaviour.”
GATTUSO’S JOB ALSO IN THE BALANCE
AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso is also waiting to discover his fate after his side missed out on the Champions League by one point.
Gattuso admitted that 18 months as coach of the club where he also spent much of his playing career had taken their toll.
“During this time, I haven’t slept much and mentally, I’m in pieces,” he said. “Because of my past, I feel great responsibility in coaching this club.”
Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “We are disappointed to have fallen short of Champions League qualification…..We shall dedicate the next few days to analysing the whole season and decide the next steps for the growth of our club.”
GASPERINI DROPS HINTS OVER ATALANTA SQUAD
Despite leading Atalanta into the Champions League for the first time, coach Gian Piero Gasperini dropped strong hints that he will only stay if the squad is strengthened.
“Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we can talk about the future,” he said after his team clinched third place with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo.
“If you stay the same, the others move ahead because football goes on, it is not static,” he warned.
“If we are going into the Champions League, we need a squad which is capable of doing well and not embarrass ourselves or Italian football.”
Gasperini’s Champions League experience is limited to one match in 2011 when his Inter Milan side lost 1-0 at home to Trabzonspor. Inter fired him after five matches.
REUTERS/Writing by Brian Homewood Editing by Amlan Chakraborty