You don't necessarily choose to be cynical, but part of doing the job is subjecting everything to the "smell test" in an effort to root out incompetence and ulterior motives. When it comes to Italy coach Cesare Prandelli, matters are odourless to the point that you feel bad for even questi oning him.
He has taken the Azzurri to tonight's Euro 2012 final against Spain which is a notable achievement but not, in itself, an earth-shattering one. Italy have reached the final of a major European tournament on eight previous occasions, often with sides more talented than this, sometimes with less gifted squads.
What is notable here is how Prandelli did it: by taking a century of history and convention and turning it on its head. This Italy side have been open, attacking and entertaining like few before them. They have had more shots on goal and shots on target than any other team in the tournament.
They have outplayed most opponents en route to tonight's showdown and, in fact, with better finishing, could have run up the score against both England in their quarter-final and Germany in the semis.
The age-old Catenaccio stereotype is tired and worn. Italy have had attacking sides in the past and some even played good football. But it's fair to say none have ever embraced such principles as thoroughly as this one. "We just play to our strengths," Prandelli said. "We have midfielders who can pass and keep the ball and so we play around that."
Put like that, it makes perfect sense. Italy teams of the past were blessed with outstanding defenders and strikers: the perfect ingredients to play on the counter-attack. Midfielders were there, essentially, to win the ball back and cue the counter.
This time, it's relatively slim pickings at the back. Giorgio Chiellini is a torchbearer for the Italian tradition of centre-halves, but he won't be mistaken for Alessandro Nesta any time soon. The others are, generally, overachievers rather than thoroughbreds.
Up front, Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano have the natural gifts, but it's their behaviour that is surrounded by doubts.
Balotelli, at 21, is a walking, talking gamble and needs no introduction. Cassano was like a madder version of Balotelli for most of his career but in the last few years he has calmed down to a degree. He is perhaps a surprising participant in Euro 2012 given that he suffered a stroke last October.
The midfield, on the other hand, is filled with passers. Andrea Pirlo's skills are familiar to all and he's a fair shout for player of the tournament. Daniele de Rossi and Claudio Marchisio are classic all-rounders who provide both quality and workrate and Riccardo Montolivo has both the vision to see passes which others do not and the technique to deliver. And so Prandelli decided to take a lead from Spain – "the blueprint was right there" he says – and build the side round possession in midfield.
Cue the predictable doubters, sceptics and musings about leopards not changing their spots. But Prandelli pushed on and he did it with a charm offensive most could not resist. He introduced an ethical code. "Playing for the national team must mean something, it's not just about wearing a different colour of shirt," he said.
As a result, anybody under suspension at club level for unsportsmanlike or violent conduct would not play for his country until he had served his time. Among the "victims" of this policy were De Rossi and Balotelli. Rather than it leaving them bitter, though, when they returned to the national side, they did so with greater awareness.
De Rossi said after returning from his ban: "Prandelli wants to win as much as anyone, but he wants to do it in the right way and, yes, that resonated with me."
Prandelli has tried to turn the Azzurri into a tool for social good. He welcomed two lower division players who had been whistleblowers in the recent match-fixing scandal and allowed them to train with Italy.
He took his squad to train in deprived neighbourhoods and play an unofficial friendly on land seized from a jailed Mafia boss. And he became vocal on the issue of gay footballers. He wrote the foreword to a book on the subject and passionately illustrated the pain closeted players endure.
He's also been part guru, part big brother to the volatile Balotelli and Cassano. Both have been on their best behaviour for much of the tournament. And while you can explain away Cassano's new-found maturity with age, and his health problems, Balotelli's progress suggests Jose Mourinho may have got it wrong when he called him uncoachable.
All this has made Prandelli one of the most likeable Italian coaches in a long, long time. He doesn't talk with missionary zeal, he just lets his actions speak for themselves. And, thus far, it has worked to a level few would have imagined, mainly because the players have bought into it lock, stock and barrel.
Whether it's enough to overcome Spain's attempts to earn an unprecedented third consecutive major trophy will be determined tonight. Italy shocked Spain in the opening game, a 1-1 draw, by keeping the ball, committing men forward and generally going toe-to-toe in the very tiki-taka La Roja invented. Prandelli befuddled his opposite number Vicente Del Bosque by switching to a 3-5-2 formation, with De Rossi in between two central defenders.
Spain had set up to press Pirlo, believing he'd be the threat when Italy had the ball. Instead, it was De Rossi, who took on the playmaking duties. That's unlikely to happen tonight, but the tactical permutations, for both managers, are fascinating.
"I think we've proved our point and shown ourselves and the world that we can do things differently," said Italy goalkeeper Gigi Buffon. "It doesn't mean we have to play this way forever, but it's nice to now we can do it and be successful. That said, I don't want to hear talk that we've already achieved our goal. Having got this far, we want to win it."
If Italy beat Spain in Kiev, much will be down to Prandelli's expansive and entertaining style. But the hunger and leadership of a Buffon will be just as crucial.