The tactician has a steep challenge to guide the club back to winning ways.

Bengaluru FC announced the appointment of Marco Pezzaiuoli as the new head coach of the club on February 21. The decision came in the backdrop of the dismissal of Carles Cuadrat in the midst of a disappointing Indian Super League 2020-21 season.

While assistant coach Naushad Moosa tried to steady the ship in an interim capacity, the role was clearly too big for him. Once the season was over, Bengaluru FC did not waste any time to announce the arrival of the Italian head coach. Marco Pezzaiuoli has already started preparation for the upcoming AFC Cup Qualifiers that the Blues are going to participate in.

However, little is known about the coach, since he has not yet showcased his expertise in Indian football. Many fans of the club and neutrals may not have seen the appointment coming. 

Therefore, the question that begs to be asked is, who is Marco Pezzaiuoli? Moreover, how will he step up to the challenges at the club, who have just endured their worst-ever ISL season, finishing seventh in the league standings?

The approach

The answer is in his approach towards football. In his own words, Pezzaiuoli explains what sort of philosophy he believes in, saying, “Offensive football, active football. We (will) try to give opponents a lot of stress to get the ball early. I like to play with the ball, create situations.”

This is particularly interesting because Cuadrat was heavily criticized for being too cautious and not utilizing the expansive attacking options at his disposal.

Abundance of experience 

Marco Pezzaiuoli has vast experience of working with Germany’s development teams such as the U-15s, U-16s, U-17s and U-18s. Most recently, he was the technical director at Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt and also headed their U-19 side briefly. Therefore, the Germany-born Italian will bring in a new perspective and tactical approach to the ISL, which is dominated by Spanish coaches.

The tactician has the knack of developing talent. From 2007 to 2010, Pezzaiuoli worked with Germany’s develoment side that produced stars of today such as Toni Kroos, Lars Bender and more. These players were crucial in guiding the national team to the 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph in Brazil.

Moreover, his work with Eintracht Frankfurt cannot be undermined. The outfit are one of the most exciting teams in the Bundesliga. Having been the technical director there, Pezzaiuoli had the chance to work with players like Andre Silva, Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and more. The Blues will certainly benefit from the Italian’s eye for developing young players.

Need for fresh talent

The Blues have an uphill task of competing with teams like ATK Mohun Bagan and ISL champions Mumbai City FC, both clubs who have recruited smartly. BFC also need to look over their shoulders with teams like Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United performing better and finishing higher than them.

“We have high quality players and very good team spirit. Maybe we need 1-2 small changes,” Marco Pezzaiuoli said while indicating a few personnel changes in the roster.

While the outfit have a good depth of Indian talent, they must recruit smartly ahead of the new season. In this context, the coach added while speaking to The Hindu, “Football is a process. Every player who comes in needs to make the team better.”

The Challenges

Marco Pezzaiuoli’s task is simple, but herculean. He must revitalize a demoralized camp, not accustomed to failure. The 52-year-old must look to deliver the club’s second ISL title or at the minimum, a playoffs position. Despite the understanding that the team’s issues will take time to fix, time is a luxury ISL coaches are seldom offered.

The 4-3-3 attacking system Pezzaiuoli deploys should be a perfect fit for the club that has exciting attacking wingers like Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan. The tactician must reinforce the defence and the process is already underway with the signing of Gabonese centre-back Yrondu Musavu-King on a short-term deal. 

In conclusion, Marco Pezzaiuoli has a huge task at hand, but he seems ready for it. The hierarchy at Bengaluru FC and fans will hope that the new boss could turn the fortunes around. There is a lot to look forward to with the appointment of the tactician, who will soon make his debut in Indian football.

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