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May 19, 2014

Juventus: End of season review

Carlos Tevez scored 19 goals in his first season at Juventus.
Carlos Tevez scored 19 goals in his first season at Juventus.
Domestically, this has been Juventus' best ever season. Breaking records, Juve amassed more points than any other team have managed in Europe's top five leagues. Undefeated at home, they scored 80 goals overall and conceded only 23. As far as Serie A goes, the Old Lady was imperious.

In Europe, the Bianconeri harbour regrets. Their Champions League exit was humiliating for a side that, at the very least, had the means to qualify out of their group, but their lethargy at the start of the season impeded their progression.

When it came to the Europa League, mental and physical exhaustion took its toll on a side that relies on intensity to secure wins. Yet they cannot complain since domestic success was the priority.

Star Pupil: Carlos Tevez

Statistically, one must acknowledge the impact Carlos Tevez has had on the side, even if Arturo Vidal is the man who makes Juventus tick. The Argentine's hard work off the ball coupled with his technique has allowed the side to be more efficient.

Wearing the number 10 shirt, Tevez coped with the pressure and immediately understood the soldier mentality at the club. He fought for the wins, developed his understanding with Fernando Llorente and improved the overall quality of the side's play in the final third.

Top scorer with 19 goals and seven assists, he is ambitious, creative and lethal and now the proud winner of Juve's "Player of the year" award.

Detention: Angelo Ogbonna

Unlike most teams, it's incredibly difficult to pick "the worst" player at Juventus simply because they all contributed to this unprecedented success. However, as a new arrival that cost the club a large sum of money, Ogbonna has not lived up to expectations.

Erroneous, panicked and tense, the composure one requires at the highest level is missing while it seems he is still uncomfortable with the team's style of play. However, his potential is evident and this is only his first season. With a little continuity and continued belief, Ogbonna will undoubtedly grow into his role and better demonstrate his skills.

Teacher's notes:

What can we say about a coach who created history with Juventus and can count on the support of all the Bianconeri fans around the world. His ability to motivate and develop players is what makes Antonio Conte a truly remarkable coach and one the club will hope to retain.

Effectively rotating a side so that they could cope with the heavy schedule, he has created a team that play entertaining and attacking football, yet they are defensively strong to secure results. While he has faltered in Europe despite the talent in the team, demanding better men to challenge effectively, one cannot reasonably claim the tactician is not the best Italy has seen in a long time.

Final grade: A

Only the Champions League exit prevents this year's from one that deserves an A+. A record-breaking season domestically, from next year the focus will be on performing better in Europe to progress both on a sporting level as well as to develop the brand worldwide.

While the team is capable of more than they actually managed, the squad must be bolstered to allow for various tactics. Greater mobility at the back as well as better quality in the wide areas is important to raise the level of play while an intelligent forward would be icing on the cake -- someone capable of making the right runs or of pushing opposing defences back to create room for midfield insertions.

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