ANGELO Alessio showed he is capable of succeeding as a manager in his own right by taking charge of Juventus when Antonio Conte was banned from football during the Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal in 2012 and helping the Turin club land the Serie A title, it was today claimed.

Alessio, who was Conte’s assistant during his time in the dugout at Siena, Juventus, Italy and Chelsea, was confirmed as the new Kilmarnock manager on Sunday in an ambitious move by the Rugby Park club.

The 54-year-old will have a difficult task replicating the success that Steve Clarke, who led the Ayrshire outfit to third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership and into Europe for the first time in 18 years last season, during the 2019/20 campaign.

However, Adam Digby, an Italian football expert and writer who is the author of the book Juventus: A History in Black and White, believes he has already highlighted that he can do well in his new position.


Bold Angelo Alessio appointment shows Kilmarnock's ambition to build on Steve Clarke's success

Alessio was appointed Juventus caretaker when his former team mate and close friend Conte was given a four month touchline ban for failing to report match-fixing during his time at Siena – an allegation which he vehemently denies to this day – seven years ago and impressed greatly.

The former midfielder, who was also handed a two month ban during the scandal that rocked Italian football, presided over 12 games in total, including four in the Champions League, and recorded eight wins and two draws.

“It will be very interesting to see how he gets on,” said Digby. “He was actually the Juventus manager for three months. Conte got a suspension stemming from an incident when he and Alessio were both at Siena.

“One of their players had gambled on a result going against their team. Because Conte was the manager it was claimed that he had to have known. He served a suspension over it.

"There was never any tangible proof that the player went to Conte and said ‘I made this bet that we wouldn’t win’ and Conte didn’t report it. But the onus falls on the manager to know these things and Conte didn’t. He took the ban and Alessio stepped in.

“Angelo took over during matches and he was very good. It wasn’t like most suspensions when the manager is effectively still running things, it was very much Alessio in charge. He did really, really well. He kept Juve rolling.

“Juve still played with Conte’s 3-5-2 formation. He didn’t change the starting line-up. But he did make some good substitutions and he got some very good results, including a win over Napoli. There were some Champions League wins in there as well. Things ticked over nicely.

“Juve had a very good team and were winning the league, but he did all that was asked of him. There wasn’t a marked drop off from what Conte was doing. It was the second of their three consecutive Serie A title wins.”


Kilmarnock appoint former Chelsea, Juventus and Italy assistant Angelo Alessio as their new manager

Digby continued: “Alessio really knows his stuff. He is technically very sound and tactically very smart too. When he talks you realise that he knows what he is on about.

“He wasn't like a lot of assistant managers who are solely focused on fitness or relationships with players. I always got the impression he was very much a manager in waiting. He always looked like he could have done it himself.”

Digby explained that Alessio, who spent brief spells in charge of Imolese, Massese and SPAL in his homeland before teaming up with Conte, was the perfect foil for his notoriously volatile countryman at Juventus, Italy and Chelsea.

“He is a really, really nice guy, which is why he worked so well together with Antonio Conte,” he said. “Antonio Conte isn’t a nice guy.

“Their relationship was very much good cop, bad cop. Conte would explode, have arguments, get into disagreements with almost everybody, a lot of players, with club officials certainly, and Alessio would go in and smooth things over.

“If Conte was upset with a player he would blow up at him and Alessio would be the one who would go and put his arm around him and say ‘look, this is what you’ve done wrong, this is what you have to do’ and make it all okay. He was very, very good at that.

“They are very close friends. Conte is very enthusiastic in celebration in victory and defeat and disappointment. He is very emotional. He lets it all hang out and whoever is closest to him bears the brunt of it. But Conte knew he could blow up with Angelo and there would be no bad blood after it. Alessio is one of the closest people to him in the world.

“Conte is approaching the Inter Milan job differently. Because of his close Juve ties and the bitterness between them and Inter I think he didn’t want to have too many Juve guys around him and obviously Alessio is one of them. He has gone with a different staff there to try and integrate himself into Inter.

“That has provided an opportunity for Alessio to go out on his own. If he adjusts to being a manager himself I think he will do very well. He has got all the tools to succeed. It is a leap into the unknown. Is he able to cope with the pressure? Can he stand on his own two feet?

“But from what I have seen from him over the last decade he has everything to do that. If he can cope with being the manager he will do very well.”

Alessio had a successful career as a player before moving into coaching; the former midfielder helped Juventus win the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup back in 1990. Digby anticipates that he will show many of the same traits as a manager that he did as a footballer and can flourish as a result.

“I would liken him to Andrea Barzagli in the current Juventus team,” he said. “He is not Giorgio Chiellini, he is not Leonardo Bonucci, but he is reliable and never really makes mistakes. Alessio was also very professional. He knew his limits and stayed within them.

“I suppose that bodes well for him becoming a manager. If he didn’t think he could do it he is not the type of guy who would take a job. He only does what he is capable of. He has never put himself in a position where he is not comfortable. That is maybe why he has taken the Kilmarnock job. You have to applaud that. It is a very brave move.”