TURIN, Italy (AP) — New Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo is keen to turn back time.
Pirlo wants his players to have the same spirit and desire as the Juventus team he played in under Antonio Conte.
“I’ll work on the pitch but as much on human relations and the psychological aspect,” Pirlo said in his first news conference as Juventus coach on Tuesday.
“Maybe we can reach the same desire and understanding that Conte’s Juve had. The spirit has to be that, we had created a group full of values, I want to bring back that DNA of work and sacrifice.”
Pirlo won four Serie A titles as a player with Juventus, three of them under Conte.
Nicknamed “the maestro” for his passing skills, Pirlo also won two Serie A titles and two Champions League trophies with AC Milan. He also helped Italy win the 2006 World Cup.
The 41-year-old Pirlo was handed his first coaching job last month when he was put in charge of Juventus’ under-23 team, which plays in Serie C. But he had not led a game before he was promoted to replace the fired Maurizio Sarri.
“I haven’t had time to think about going from the under-23s to the first team, it was all very quick,” Pirlo said. “I threw myself in headfirst, but if I made this choice it’s because I’m convinced I’m in the right place at the right time.
“If I was predestined to be on this bench will depend on the results. But I’m very convinced of my capabilities.”
Sarri was fired despite winning the Italian title after his first season in charge ended with the team’s Champions League defeat to Lyon in the round of 16.
Pirlo, who was given a two-year contract, says he had already spoken to all his players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, before taking charge of his first training session on Monday.
“I want to bring back the enthusiasm, which has been lacking lately,” Pirlo added. “I want a positive style of soccer and domination of the play.
“I said two things to the lads yesterday: ‘You must always have the ball’ and ‘When you lose it, you must get it back quickly.’ Those are two important concepts on a mental level to get into the heads of the players.”
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