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Maurizio Sarri leaves Juventus as a champion but his reputation at top clubs is in tatters

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maurizio sarri leaves juventus as a champion but his reputation at top clubs is in tatters

Maurizio Sarri will have entered Saturday evening asking just what Andrea Pirlo offers in comparison to him having been sacked as Juventus boss. 

The Italian champions wasted no time in axing Sarri, who still had two years left to run on his deal in Turin, after their shock elimination in the Champions League to Lyon on Friday night.  

For a start, Pirlo boasts far better hair. But on a more serious note, Pirlo will not need to learn or develop Juventus’ DNA having spent four years anchoring the Bianconeri’s midfield. He gets what the club is about and that’s vitally important.

Ultimately, Sarri just never quite got it and for that he paid the price.  

Maurizio Sarri delivered a ninth-straight Serie A title for Juventus but it was far from vintage

Maurizio Sarri delivered a ninth-straight Serie A title for Juventus but it was far from vintage

While there was some joy there was also a lot of despair and it was clear he and the club were not a perfect match

While there was some joy there was also a lot of despair and it was clear he and the club were not a perfect match

Maurizio Sarri became a champion at Juventus but also shattered his reputation as an elite-level manager having been sacked just one year into a three-year contract in Turin

Cristiano Ronaldo became exasperated and it was inevitable Sarri was heading for a divorce

Cristiano Ronaldo became exasperated and it was inevitable Sarri was heading for a divorce

Cristiano Ronaldo became exasperated and it was inevitable Sarri was heading for a divorce

Andrea Pirlo has no managerial experience but understands Juventus' DNA better than most

Andrea Pirlo has no managerial experience but understands Juventus' DNA better than most

Andrea Pirlo has no managerial experience but understands Juventus’ DNA better than most

The appointment of Sarri always felt off from the start, something just did not seem to fit together. 

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli comes across as a man who wants what others have, someone who more often than not is of the belief that the grass can always be that little bit greener. 

And despite them clinching an eighth-straight Serie A title, delivered by Massimiliano Allegri last year, Agnelli craved more aesthetic and attractive football to watch and to dazzle the rest of Europe with. 

With great difficulty in attaining Pep Guardiola, Agnelli’s mind was cast to the eye-catching ‘Sarri-ball’ that was delivered at Napoli in the 2017-18 season. 

Sarri moved to Chelsea that summer for one season before Agnelli could get his hands on a man that was a major detachment from the clean-cut, company man that Allegri came across as. 

There he would be, his side toiling against Sassuolo, Atalanta, Cagliari, Roma, Lazio, pick any side this season, with a cigarette butt dangling precariously in his mouth. It felt almost metaphorical for how precarious his job at the Allianz Stadium was and so it proved.  

There was a belief that his system simply didn’t work in English football – even after he delivered Chelsea the Europa League – and so back in Italy it was expected his career would be back on track. 

He was brought in by Andrea Agnelli to deliver attractive football but never managed to do it

He was brought in by Andrea Agnelli to deliver attractive football but never managed to do it

He was brought in by Andrea Agnelli to deliver attractive football but never managed to do it

Only what transpired was a tumultuous campaign that saw his tactics questioned, whispers of fall-outs with key dressing room figures and he was even the target of social media rants from Cristiano Ronaldo’s sister.  

Sarri and his story of being a banker before throwing himself into football management is one well told. It is remarkable to have gone ahead and had the career he has given he started with a role managing eighth-division side USD Stia in 1990. 

Slowly this unfamiliar, introverted, chain-smoking manager was beginning to get on the radar of those high up in Italian football. 

His resume makes incredible reading when it is acknowledge that in 30 years he has gone from Faellese to Cavriglia, Antella, Valdema, Tegoleto, Sansovino, Sangiovannese, Pescara, Arezzo, Avellino, Hellas Verona, Perugia, Grosseto, Alessandria, Sorrento and Empoli where he really drew credit for the now-derided ‘Sarri-ball’.

Juventus laboured their way to victories and draws, often reliant on the output of Ronaldo

Juventus laboured their way to victories and draws, often reliant on the output of Ronaldo

Juventus laboured their way to victories and draws, often reliant on the output of Ronaldo

The Champions League was where Sarri would be measured and he failed under the pressure

The Champions League was where Sarri would be measured and he failed under the pressure

The Champions League was where Sarri would be measured and he failed under the pressure

And then his story becomes more high-profile: Napoli, Chelsea and Juventus.  

While the fall-out from his one-and-done season in Turin is still to be properly unpacked, the question now is, what next? Is his time as a league-winning manager over?  

The one thing that was consistently levelled against Sarri was that his football, while easy on the eye when it works, does not, or had not, delivered tangible trophy success.

He did win the title this season, Juventus’ ninth Scudetto in a row, and so he can no longer be ridiculed for not winning in his own country.  

‘If you won with me, you must be good,’ he joked in the dressing room after clinching the league title. It was said in jest but there was an element of truth to it; it was all alien and the players knew it. 

Europa League success at Chelsea couldn't spare him the sack and top clubs will overlook him

Europa League success at Chelsea couldn't spare him the sack and top clubs will overlook him

Europa League success at Chelsea couldn’t spare him the sack and top clubs will overlook him

The Italian failed to win over both fans and the club's hierarchy while manager at Chelsea

The Italian failed to win over both fans and the club's hierarchy while manager at Chelsea

The Italian failed to win over both fans and the club’s hierarchy while manager at Chelsea

To get his career back on track he needs to return to an underdog club where he can thrive

To get his career back on track he needs to return to an underdog club where he can thrive

To get his career back on track he needs to return to an underdog club where he can thrive

There was some rumours of Roma being his next landing spot with some pressure on Paulo Fonseca in the Italian capital. For now that seems a stretch. 

But with no appetite to welcome him back to England with open arms and the only way in Italy is down, Sarri has a lot to think about before putting himself back in the firing line. 

What made Sarri so attractive and unique was it was not all about trophies. Underdog teams thrived under him because it was more about philosophy, footballing beliefs and schooling opponents by simply out-performing them. 

And so that is key for the next move. Sarri needs to turn his back on the glitz, glamour and champagne lifestyle that clings to the European elite. 

To get his love for the game back, Sarri needs to find a home that inspires him as much as minor side Tegoleto did when he gave up that career in the bank.  

The 61-year-old manager at Empoli where he drew credit for the now-derided 'Sarri-ball'

The 61-year-old manager at Empoli where he drew credit for the now-derided 'Sarri-ball'

The 61-year-old manager at Empoli where he drew credit for the now-derided ‘Sarri-ball’

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Newport County 1-1 Newcastle (4-5 on pens): Toon through to last eight after penalty shootout

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newport county 1 1 newcastle 4 5 on pens toon through to last eight after penalty shootout

Steve Bruce says he does not send out his Newcastle United team to play badly, and of course he doesn’t.

But there is little evidence of what they are trying to achieve after another fortuitous night in which the head coach was again forced to defend his tactics.

The problem is, supporters and observes are scratching their head as to what those tactics are right now.

Newcastle celebrate winning the penalty shootout against Newport County 5-4 on Wednesday

Newcastle celebrate winning the penalty shootout against Newport County 5-4 on Wednesday

Newcastle required a late equaliser and penalties to get past League Two Newport County

 Newcastle required a late equaliser and penalties to get past League Two Newport County

Bottom of the Expected Goals (XG) table for over a year, they continue to give it large in the XL department. Expected Luck, that is.

To progress past League Two opposition here they needed a late equaliser from Jonjo Shelvey to force penalties and a spot-kick so wild from Newport defender Brandon Cooper that it may well have landed in Cardiff.

Indeed, passage to the last eight was the only positive from an otherwise desperate display. It’s a results business, they say, and Bruce’s aren’t terrible, far from it.

But performances are, and that is the concern among a fanbase who see little identity or progression about their team. Bruce disagrees.

Jonjo Shelvey curled a beautiful shot into the top corner for the equaliser in 87th minute

Jonjo Shelvey curled a beautiful shot into the top corner for the equaliser in 87th minute

Shelvey celebrated with 'shush' gesture despite the tie taking place in an empty stadium

Shelvey celebrated with ‘shush’ gesture despite the tie taking place in an empty stadium

‘I’m manager of Newcastle United and, if you don’t win or perform, you get criticised,’ he said. ‘I agree we didn’t play well enough, but now all of a sudden it’s questioning tactics. I find the whole thing disappointing. We don’t go out there not wanting to play well.’

The outcome was harsh on Mike Flynn’s supposed underdogs, who led from the fifth minute when Tristan Abrahams shot through the floppy palms of Mark Gillespie. The goalkeeper’s error was symptomatic of a weak and witless Newcastle performance during the first half.

On the eve of the game Bruce had spoken forcefully of the need to start positively, well at least he told the media as much. His players clearly weren’t listening.

Tristan Abrahams opened the scoring with his fourth goal in the Carabao Cup this season

Tristan Abrahams opened the scoring with his fourth goal in the Carabao Cup this season

Given his team’s apparent indifference to their task, he probably should have made his first substitution long before the hour mark, when he turned to his £60million front pairing of Callum Wilson and Joelinton, who later missed in the shootout.

Off came Andy Carroll, whose presence to that point had seemingly been the sole focus of Newcastle’s game-plan. Namely, a hopeful punt in the striker’s direction.

That they were still within one goal of a shootout owed much to Newport’s profligacy. In the three minutes before half-time both midfielder Scott Bennett and forward Padraig Amond leathered narrowly wide from positions of promise inside the area.

Newcastle’s only moment of genuine threat was a Jacob Murphy drive from range that was repelled by goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

Abrahams' tame effort was fumbled by Newcastle's stand-in goalkeeper Mark Gillespie

Abrahams’ tame effort was fumbled by Newcastle’s stand-in goalkeeper Mark Gillespie

The final half hour offered much more by way of attacking territory – and so it should – but Townsend’s most taxing duty was taking goal-kicks, and that said much for Newcastle’s finishing before Shelvey’s late intervention, a fine curling effort into the top corner.

It then took a pair of goal-line clearances from Newport defenders to ensure penalties, and a stoppage-time victory for Newcastle would have been unjust.

Bruce disagreed. ‘In my opinion we deserved to go through after a difficult first half, in particular,’ he said.

Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy has a shot saved by Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend

Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy has a shot saved by Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend

Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend dives to make an acrobatic save against Newcastle

Newport goalkeeper Nick Townsend dives to make an acrobatic save against Newcastle 

‘But you have to credit Newport. You can understand why they’ve beaten Watford, Swansea, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Leicester. They’re a decent footballing side. We knew that after watching them against Bolton on Saturday. But we are through and I thought we played very well in the last half hour.’

A fourth-tier team who troubled Bolton, however, should not be causing the same problems for a Premier League side.

But again Bruce and his players found a way to survive, and that is to their credit. He has brought good luck if not a good look to Newcastle, and while that remains so will he.  

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey battles for possession with Newport's Scott Twine

Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey battles for possession with Newport’s Scott Twine

Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy takes on Newport duo Ryan Haynes and Matty Dolan

Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy takes on Newport duo Ryan Haynes and Matty Dolan

Newcastle striker Andy Carrol is tackled by Newport midfielder Josh Sheehan

Newcastle striker Andy Carrol is tackled by Newport midfielder Josh Sheehan

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Manchester United ‘have loan bid REJECTED for Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa’

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manchester united have loan bid rejected for fiorentina winger federico chiesa

Manchester United have had a loan enquiry rejected for Italian winger Federico Chiesa, after the Red Devils failed to make any progress in landing Borussia Dortmund‘s Jadon Sancho, according to The Telegraph.

The Old Trafford club still harbour hopes of finalising a deal for Sancho before the transfer window slams shut, however Dortmund have remained steadfast in their valuation of £108million for the England star. 

With just five days of the transfer window remaining, United are looking at alternative options on loan. 

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Italian international winger Federico Chiesa

Manchester United are reportedly interested in Italian international winger Federico Chiesa

Red Devils are also interested in Ousmane Dembele as another alternative to Jadon Sancho

Red Devils are also interested in Ousmane Dembele as another alternative to Jadon Sancho

Serie A side Fiorentina are not interested in loaning out Chiesa – the 22-year-old is wanted by Juventus who are willing to pay around £45m to secure his services permanently.

Watford’s Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr is also only available for a permanent deal with the Hornets having no interest in loaning him out. 

Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s side retain an interest in taking Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele on a season’s loan, however manager Ronald Koeman wants the Frenchman to remain at the Nou Camp.  

Manchester United cruised into the Carabao Cup quarter finals with a comfortable 3-0 win at Brighton on Wednesday night.

Manchester United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at the Amex in Carabao Cup fourth round

Manchester United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at the Amex in Carabao Cup fourth round

The draw for the next round will take place on October 1, following the conclusion of Liverpool’s game against Arsenal. 

Goals from Scott McTominay, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba ensured the encounter was far more comfortable than the Premier League game between the two sides on Saturday.

Brighton hit the woodwork a record five times and United had to rely on a last-gasp penalty from Bruno Fernandes to claim the points at the Amex.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Chelsea ‘demand Antonio Rudiger sign a contract extension or he will not leave the club this month’

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chelsea demand antonio rudiger sign a contract extension or he will not leave the club this month

Chelsea want out-of-favour Antonio Rudiger to sign a contract extension before they will allow him to leave on loan, according to the Daily Mirror.

Tottenham, West Ham and Paris Saint-Germain are all interesting in the Germany defender, 27.

But the Blues are unwilling to enter talks unless Rudiger signs a 12-month extension to his current contract, which has 18 months left to run.

Defender Antonio Rudiger has fallen out of favour at Chelsea under manager Frank Lampard

Defender Antonio Rudiger has fallen out of favour at Chelsea under manager Frank Lampard

Chelsea do not want to lose him on a free transfer when his contract expires in 2022.

Tottenham have been the latest club to show an interest in Rudiger.

The 27-year-old has fallen out of favour at Chelsea and has been omitted from Frank Lampard’s last three squads against West Bromwich Albion, Barnsley and Liverpool

West Ham United and Paris Saint-Germain have shown interest in taking Rudiger on a season-long loan.

Thiago Silva's arrival has extinguished any faint hope of Rudiger returning to the starting XI

Thiago Silva’s arrival has extinguished any faint hope of Rudiger returning to the starting XI

Tottenham are also monitoring the Germany international with Chelsea unlikely to allow a player to join a rival on a temporary deal, according to Sky Sports

Rudiger’s last appearance for the Blues came in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal in early August, when he was partly culpable for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner in a 2-1 defeat.

Despite his role in helping convince compatriots Kai Havertz and Timo Werner to join him at Stamford Bridge this summer, Rudiger appears to have reached the end of the road in SW6. 

Chelsea have already received an offer from Paris Saint-Germain for the imposing centre back, with the French champions also looking to strike up a loan deal with an option to buy.   

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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