It has been 12 years since Ivan Juric instructed an interviewer from Rolling Stone journal that footballers “don’t know shit about music”. The Croatian was having fun with the ultimate days of his taking part in profession at Genoa, absorbing information from a supervisor, Gian Piero Gasperini, who would change into his best affect as he ready to make his personal transfer into teaching.
Nonetheless, Juric harboured one remorse. “The one different metal-head I’ve performed with in a 15-year profession was an Argentinian goalkeeper at Crotone,” he stated. “I began at 14 years outdated with Metallica and Megadeth, then I moved on to extra aggressive issues. Death metal is my ardour, bands like Napalm Death, Obituary and Carcass.”
Little did we all know that he was getting ready to carry the vitality of these bands to Serie A coaching grounds. The place Jürgen Klopp unleashed “heavy metal soccer” on the Premier League, Juric’s approach was outlined by one author from the Sky Sports activities-owned analytics web site ultimouomo.com this week as being outright “satanic”.
To be clear, no one is accusing the now Torino supervisor of precise satan worship. The writer outlined satanism as “the apply of a detrimental theology, of turning good into dangerous”, the undoing of a “canonical concept of soccer because the artistic expression of a human being via a soccer.” It was a sublime manner of claiming that Juric’s soccer is percussive, violent, harmful. And most of all fiendishly efficient.
Torino are hovering beneath Juric, employed to substitute Davide Nicola in the summertime. A facet that completed sixteenth and seventeenth in Serie A during the last two seasons ended this weekend in ninth – 15 factors higher off than they had been on the corresponding level in 2021. Within the area of 5 days final week, they thrashed Fiorentina 4-0 after which beat Sampdoria 2-1 at Marassi.
These had been two very completely different video games, every with a lot to inform us in regards to the team’s current progress. Fiorentina – a facet with acknowledged European ambitions who had even been mentioned as a darkish horse for the highest 4 – had been merely overrun, unable to escape Torino’s relentless excessive press.
The broad strokes of Juric’s gameplan had been nothing new. Like his mentor, Gasperini, he ceaselessly pairs gamers up one-on-one with opponents all around the pitch and trusts them to interact in particular person duels. The place the approach typically differs is within the sheer ranges of aggression. Juric encourages his forwards to assault the ball-carrier at nearly each alternative.
That approach could make for messy matches. Torino commit extra fouls than another team in Serie A, and it’s not shut: averaging 17.6 per sport in contrast with simply 14.5 for the second-most prolific offenders, Verona – the team who Juric coached for the previous two seasons.
But Torino sit center of the pack when it comes to yellow playing cards, with 11 different groups accumulating extra. Their fouling isn’t reckless however usually tactical, premised on the concept that it’s higher to give away an innocuous free-kick deep in opposition territory than to let a transfer get began. Such infringements are additionally far much less seemingly to draw bookings.
And the longer that a team keep trapped in their very own half, the extra seemingly that they change into impatient and flustered. Because the above piece from ultimouomo.com additionally noticed, Torino quit fewer passes per lack of possession to opponents than another team within the league.
Not each adversary, nonetheless, can merely be shut out of a sport. Saturday’s win was sophisticated by a objective conceded towards the run of play. Francesco Caputo opened the scoring for Sampdoria within the 18th minute, punishing a careless clearance from Torino’s goalkeeper, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.
Now Juric’s team had two units of psychological hurdles to overcome. They’d not taken factors from a dropping place all season, and nor had they received away from residence since September. Torino’s death metal dance has made them sensible at not conceding targets, however they nonetheless usually battle to rating them. Andrea Belotti, after hitting double figures in every of the previous six seasons, has been sidelined for a lot of the marketing campaign with accidents.
His teammates turned issues round on Saturday with two headers, Wilfried Songo changing a cross from Mërgim Vojvoda after which Dennis Praet doing likewise from a Sasa Lukic supply. The ball went straight via a gap within the web on the second event, main to a few transient seconds of confusion after which a number of minutes of amusement as an ever-growing solid of high-vis jackets arrived to seek the advice of earlier than one lastly accepted the duty of sewing it again collectively.
The pause supplied us with one other second to replicate on Juric’s successes. Vojvoda had begun the season as a back-up to Songo at proper wing-back, accumulating simply a jiffy right here and there earlier than being swapped to the left in November. The Kosovo worldwide was unfamiliar with taking part in on that flank however has grown into the position brilliantly. This was his second help in as many video games.
There are teaching success tales to be discovered all via Torino’s first team. Sasa Lukic’s enchancment in central midfield has been exceptional to watch after two underwhelming seasons. Mortgage signings Praet and Brekalo have impressed behind the assault.
The query now’s how far Torino can go. Their president, Urbano Cairo, was eager to play down speak of a European push on Saturday, saying they may go away such concerns for the tip. “Each season Atalanta say that their first goal is to get to 40 factors,” he noticed. “If they are saying it, a team who’ve been in Europe for a few years, then we are able to say the identical.”
Juric was a little much less shy, saying that his team wanted to keep targeted on the current however that “up till now I feel we’ve earned it”. Regardless, he’ll keep on the work he has been doing. Week by week, his team look extra assured within the tune they’re taking part in.