MARCELLO LIPPI THE QUIET BUT SUCCESSFUL ITALIAN MANAGER

Marcello Lippi is not the chest pumping coach and a manager that urges his fan to support the team like the ever passionate Diego Simeone and Jurgen Klopp. In another way he rarely shows any emotion during the game when is a manager. His style was so focused that even admired by Sir Alex Ferguson as he had written in autobiography that Lippi had something in his eyes that makes him formidable and not to be taken lightly and Ferguson had gone further by emulating Juventus team success in Europe as an inspiration for his team success in Europe. But his silence management style had transformed the underachieving Juventus to one of the most feared in Europe and most balanced team in the 90’s and also making Italy won the World Cup in 2006 amidst all the turmoil in Italy Calciopolli scandal.

Lippi had gain the attention of Italy big club when he had make the Napoli team to progress to UEFA Cup in 1993-1994 season. A big achievement considers the team did not have any happy moment after Maradona era. It turns the sadness of the fan to a joyful moment for them. His success with the team make Juventus appoint him as the manager starting 1994-1995 season. Juventus was living the past glories after the day of Michel Platini and their manager Giovanni Trapattoni and become an underachieving team.

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Lippi gave a reason for Napoli to be joyful after Maradona left them

Like Mourinho , he bought an instant success to the Juventus team in his first season with winning the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia and the only blemish is they had loss the all Italian UEFA Cup final against Parma that denied him a treble in his first season. In his second season with Juventus he had transformed them to an European powerhouse. With player like Angelo Peruzzi, Ciro Ferrara, Didier Deschamps, Antonio Conte, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gianluca Vialli, and the young Alessandro Del Piero Juventus is well balanced team that can play well in defence and attack. And the best of all the team is all about the team spirit and unity with each player trust each other and respect the manager. Lippi does not believe in any individuality for any player and gave high performance for team work. His team can be spectacular and functional depend on the game and the situation.

In his second season, he had lead the team to Supercoppa Italian and the greatest prize of all the UEFA Champion League. A game that so important as the only time that they had won the trophy is in 1985 under Michel Platini. With the flamboyant young Ajax Amsterdam as the defending champion under Louis Van Gaal whom gunning for second successive trophy Juventus had a tough challenge if they need to emulate what Platini’s Juventus did in 1985.

Lippi had proved his tactical mastermind in this game. For this game he had observed that Van Gaal team does not play the fluid 4-3-3 formation and play a function formation where each play had a task and limited their creativity. Some like with Manchester United when Van Gaal was in charge of the team. Lippi countered it by playing is own 4-3-3 formation that does not emphasized on possession but to counter Ajax team attack prowess. Another thing, he had turned the talented individual to a team. In this game Conte and Deschamp pressed vigorously to deny the attack of the Ajax team. His have so much confidence in his team as even when they had missed a chance with Vialli hit the crossbar and side net, Lippi still never shown any emotion and not vexed at all. He trusted his player and motivate his player but at the sometime did not load his player with more information in the extra time and penalties. In the end with Lippi management they had won the Champion League for only the second time in their history. They also added the UEFA Super Cup and also the Intercontinental Cup in that year.

 

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Gianlucca Vialli lifting the UEFA Champion League in 1996

In 1996 also after winning the UEFA Champion League he added Zinedine Zidane, Christian Vieri, Fillipo Inzaghi and Edgar Davids to make the team stronger but there are unable to add a European trophy after losing to Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and Real Madrid in 1998. Lippi had left the in 1999 and Juventus had started crumbling under the new manager Carlo Ancelotti and does not have some success as Lippi.

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Zidane become the playmaker for Lippi upon his arrival in 1996. Image credit by Getty Images

Lippi’s Juventus was a formidable as under him they had an astonishing record in Europe. In 1996-1997 season until their final defeat to Borussia Dortmund they are undefeated in group stages and also in the knock out round. Under Lippi Juventus have a strong home record and only lost once to Borrusia Dortmund in 1995-1996 season group stage and since then they had not been beaten in home. His team had become one the greatest club side ever and Lippi become the first manager to guide a team to 4 consecutive European Cup final with include the 1995 UEFA Cup final. He had returned in 2002-2003 season but only able to won the Serie A but not the European Cup as they had been beaten by AC Milan in the final.

After Giovanni Trappatoni left amid a disappointing performance in Euro 2004, Lippi was chosen as the Italian manager. In the preparation for the team in World Cup 2006, Italy had been rocked by Calciopolli scandal where match fixing scandal was uncovered with Juventus was punished severely as they are relegated to Serie B for the first time in their history and AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio incurred a hefty fine.

With his beloved Juventus team were hit the hardest and with 4 Juventus player in the team, Lippi need to motivate the team and overcome his greatest challenge. And he did with transforming the Italian team to well drilled machine and the players perform at the very best. Players like Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta, Gianluca Zambrotta, Francesco Totti, Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Grosso and many of them had given a stellar and outstanding performance plus with the Lippi tactical brilliance as seen in the semi-final against Germany.

In extra time against the German team whom is playing at home as they are the host on that year and with their penalty shootout prowess, Lippi had taken a gamble in the extra time with making an attacking substitute. Replacing Perrota with Del Piero and Camorenasi with Iaquinta , Italy decided to attack the German in the extra time and it had payoff when the Italian had scored 2 late goal in the extra time to knockout the German and progressed to the final and trying to won the World Cup as the last time they had won was in 1982.

Italy did that in 2006 after beating France in a penalty shootout. Lippi brilliantly shield his player and motivate his player amid all the controversy to become the World Champion for the 4th time. Lippi biggest achievement as he had guided his country to World Cup win. Marcello Lippi had transformed an underachieving Juventus team to formidable team in 90’s and guided his country to World Cup amid the worst football scandal at that time before FIFA one.

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Fabio Cannavaro lifting the World Cup in 2006

His managerial capabilities are undeniable legendary and he is as per the title is a quiet manager but become one of the most successful manager in Italy. He always manager his team be a like car where every part worked perfectly to give the ultimate performance and that what his Juventus team and Italy team all about where everyone from goalkeeper to striker work like a perfect oiled machine to give the ultimate result for the team. Lippi is not about passion, or emotion but a quiet functional winner.

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