The editorial staff of TuttoJuve.com has contacted Lichtteiner by phone, by Mirko di Natale. This is what he had to say.
So Juventus, to date, is a clock that is not working?
More than not working, it is a clock in difficulty. Juve is in a phase in which it is building a new winning cycle, I think that sooner or later the year in which you were in difficulty had to come. Unfortunately in football, you can't win forever. In my opinion, you have to look at the glass half full, we've already won a Super Cup and there's a chance to win the Coppa Italia. It's not like you're going home with nothing. It's clear that the environment has become accustomed to winning the championship in recent years, but it's never a foregone conclusion to repeat it.
A new cycle that, your Juve had started in 2015 with the purchase of youngsters like Paulo Dybala.
It has to be said that Juve has always changed a bit over the years. That season we got off to a bad start in the league, we thought the cycle was over and then we managed to win again. When you make changes, you have to accept the idea that you don't repeat yourself immediately. Honestly, I'm seeing too much criticism, unfair criticism, but the truth is that it's always too easy to talk. We need facts, the management has always achieved great results.
Thank Juve for these years of victories
Yes, but you shouldn't just thank them for that. I think Juve should always be supported by their supporters, even in difficult moments like this. Unfortunately it's not possible to do it at the stadium, the absence of the public has taken away the boost that the "Stadium" was able to guarantee. I think you would have got through the round against Porto because the players would have been pumped up by the atmosphere at 2-1.
Perhaps some fans no longer have confidence in this management
For me, it's right to put your trust in a management that has been winning for so many years. There is the strength to open a new cycle, maybe to reach the Champions League, which is the only goal still missing. The only thing I haven't understood is why Juve have lost in the last three years against inferior teams within their reach. Excluding the year in which we went out in the group, I remember that the teams that eliminated us were the biggest in Europe like Bayern and Real. And in a very surprising way.
Allegri said that in the match against Malmoe in 2014 he saw a fearful group at half-time
You need it a little bit because it's the fear of failure that pushes you to never give up. It's always a disaster to go out of the Champions League so early, but it's one thing to do it with a top club and another with a team within your reach. My Juve wasn't intimidated, maybe they weren't convinced they could do great things in the Champions League. And then we succeeded, the results speak for us.
How are you judging the work of Pirlo?
It's difficult to judge, in all honesty, I haven't had the chance to follow and watch many games. Last year Juve was in danger of losing the Scudetto, so it's normal to meet again teams that can steal the scepter from you. I think we have to congratulate Inter because they understood that to win they had to buy Juventus. Let's remember that after the storm, the sun always comes out.
Would you reconfirm Pirlo at the helm of Juventus?
Yes, Andrea deserves another chance. The management knew what the risks were when they chose him as a coach, so they surely planned for the fact that he would not win the championship again. If he were to achieve Champions League qualification, I think it would be fair to allow him to work for another year.
Who should the new project be based on?
From the outside it's difficult to answer, I don't see the training sessions and the spirit of the players. There are some players in this team you can't give up, one of them is Ronaldo, who is the best in the world along with Messi and Ibrahimovic. You cannot question him. Another name for the future is clearly De Ligt, I also like Juan a lot, and his flexibility is a fundamental skill in football. For me we don't have to question everyone or start from scratch, there won't have to be a revolution but we have to rebuild the champions.
My Juventus had a great core, unfortunately, players like Andrea and Claudio are no longer with us but there are still those who can transmit the Juve spirit. More than the name, what counts in this sport is the mentality. In my experience at Arsenal, I saw that there was a lot of quality, but they were not as hungry for victory as here. We need to rebuild the core, I think we need to bring in players who know the value of sacrifice and are willing to never give up. There are a lot of young players, but there has to be a guide. Gigi and Chiello can give us a big hand in this.
I think it's important to find players who you don't overpay, a bit like Juve did with me, Andrea, Mirko, Arturo, and all the others. At the moment it's difficult, things have changed and the competition has increased. It was also important for me to grow next to such great champions, to have lived in the same locker room as them, and to have known their thoughts. And I remember very well the way they worked, they were animals.
Would you like to see Pogba back?
Right away, where do I sign? He has been a great loss for my Juve, it would be great to see him back. Especially for us Juventini, we would be very happy with that. It's just an economic question, we'll see what happens.
How useful will Dyaba's return to Juventus be?
Paulo is a champion, a player who is always able to make a difference. If Juventus have struggled so much, it's also because they've suffered from his absence. His return will be very important, he'll give a big hand in this season finale.
Which one was your favorite Juventus in your seven years?
I don't have a favorite Juventus, but the seasons I have experienced have not all been the same. The first year there was more pressure than the last year when I was a bit freer. Juve was coming from two seventh places, so I was a bit afraid of failing. There isn't a single moment that I wouldn't like to relive, because the difficulties have helped me to form myself even more.
Allegri told Sky a few days ago that he was very angry with you in the Carpi match when he took off his jacket.
Maybe he was getting angry with someone else, but he chose me because he knew I wouldn't answer him (laughs). At Carpi I had taken over, I hadn't played well and so he called me back. He was right, the boss is always right.