Aussie’s honest assessment of his fallen Serie A champs but why Juve can bounce straight back

Liberty A-League Championship-winning head coach Joe Montemurro won more silverware in 2022-23 but Juventus Women’s season did not go exactly according to plan. The Australian chats to KEEPUP’s Sacha Pisani about why there was more to last season than meets the eye.

Juventus are serial winners, so naturally, last season was a “bit disappointing” for Joe Montemurro and the Italian powerhouse.

Twelve months on from their historic treble and an unprecedented run to the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals in Montemurro’s first season at the helm, Le Bianconere’s streak of five successive Serie A Femminile titles was ruined by Roma.

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Juve did win some silverware – the Coppa Italia, having also reached the Supercoppa Italiana. But football isn’t always black and white. Sometimes, you have to peel back the layers.

For Australia’s Montemurro, the 2022-23 season reinforced his belief in the process.

Montemurro with the 2022-23 Coppa Italia trophy. Image source: Juventus

“Being the club that we are, serial winners, the expectation to win, it’s always the perception that it was probably a season that was a bit disappointing from our perspective,” the Liberty A-League Championship-winning head coach told KEEPUP.

“I use but in a positive way because it was a very important year for us in terms of growth, learning, stability.

“We’re expected to win here, there’s no two ways about it. I’m expected to do the impossible which is normal. When you’re at a big club, it’s normal.

“For me and for us internally, it was a huge year. One, it sustained our level in the Champions League as one of the top eight-10 clubs.”

Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana winners in 2021-22, Juve came into last season’s Champions League having pipped Sam Kerr’s Chelsea to the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winners Lyon in 2021-22.

In 2022-23, Juve agonisingly missed out on a spot in the knockout rounds.

Montemurro’s side only lost once, conceded the fewest goals in Group C (three), twice drew with European powerhouse Lyon and held his former team Arsenal to a draw.

Yet, Juventus still finished third behind Arsenal and Lyon in the Champions League. However, that campaign in itself proved 2021-22 was no fluke in the eyes of Montemurro.

Image source: Juventus

“We just missed out on going through in probably the most difficult in the whole tournament,” the former Melbourne City boss said. “Lyon couldn’t beat us who were the champions. We were unluckily pipped by Arsenal at the Emirates where we probably dominated the game.

“It was more through other results that didn’t get through. We copped three goals and gained nine points, and still didn’t go through.

“It was more a year to see our level of sustainability and whether the growth in year one was real or just a fluke. It just solidified that we’re on the right path.

“Did we let the league slip because of our mistakes in games we should’ve won? Absolutely. That’s all learning. The club grew a lot.

“We grew in a big way because being serial winners can sometimes mask some of the other issues you don’t see. We probably found our level of understanding of where we’re at.”

That growth across Juventus and Serie A has Montemurro relishing the season ahead.

Juve have already discovered their appoints for the first phase of the 2022-23 Champions League, with the Italian side set to face Kazakh outfit WFC Okzhetpes.

Completing Group 2 of the mini-tournament in Round 1 of qualifying are Eintracht Frankfurt and 1. FC Slovacko.

“It’s been a growth from a holistic perspective. The league has grown,” Montemurro said on the back of Serie A’s first fully professional season. “The investment from the big clubs is coming through. Big players coming to the league and you need to grow with that.

“It’s all good to be the winners and the serial winners in a league that is a two-horse race or you’re probably the bet team out of the league with the stock of quality of players you have.

“But to do it when the league is competitive, I think it tells the real story.”