He is one third of Itay’s renowned ‘BBC’ defence, and ahead of their Champions League tie with Porto, defender Leonardo Bonucci spoke to UEFA.com about how Antonio Conte improved him and why Massimiliano Allegri’s approach to coaching is different. Here are some of Bonucci’s comments:
On the appointment of Antonio Conte in 2011 …
Appointing Conte as manager opened up a lot of new ideas for myself and more experienced defender like [Andrea] Barzagli and [Giorgio] Chiellini.
We talked a lot in order to get a better understanding of what coach Conte was asking of us in terms of our positioning on the pitch, always defending and helping each other out, and working hard in order to be successful.
Conte was really clever because he improved my playing style and helped me improve on the ball, and at the same time he brought the best out of Chiellini and Barzagli in terms of their tackling and interceptions, which are their strongest attributes.
This enabled us to improve because they helped me in areas where they were stronger than I was, and vice versa.
On the transition from Conte to Massimiliano Allegri …
We had three years with Conte where we gave everything in terms of emotion, energy, mental strength and performance – everything we had inside. It was important when Allegri arrived because he likes dialogue, he likes to talk with people.
He has his own approach, right or wrong. It’s not up to me or anyone to judge and, anyway, it has got him results. It’s his way of getting the best out of everyone by dialogue, and perhaps by using the carrot rather than the stick.
He knows how to bring out the hunger, the psychological intensity. He’s shown at times in matches that he does have that inside him. You can see it in some of the things he’s said and the way he behaves.
As a team, we’ve developed over the past three years, both ourselves as players and him as a coach. He has a very intelligent way of interpreting football because he knows how to analyse a team’s qualities, as he’s shown this season.
He’s working hard to find the right formation. Now we’ve got a formation that I think maximises our technical attributes, allowing us to play a style of football that is well suited to Europe.