Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has attempted to deflect criticism of the team’s dismal performance in a 3-1 loss last weekend at Genoa by saying that the side cannot go the whole season at full throttle.
In his press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game with surprise side Atalanta who are in fifth after a ten-match unbeaten run, Allegri insisted fans would have to accept some bad performances as well.
“Juve are going at cruising speed. We can’t go 100mph all season, there are times when we have to go 80.
“Your position in the table doesn’t crumble like the world around Juve, if you lose once.
“We’re also first in our Champions League group. We have the duty of making amends for our performance against Genoa, then we’ll think about Dinamo.”
On who he likes on the Atalanta squad -
"Atalanta are doing very well, they play with youngsters. Congratulations to Gasperini and the club. He is proving that they can lead the championship, the value of teams give them the correct ranking after May 28th.
“Gagliardini’s banned, but he’s taken off on his own. The Italian national team has a great future, there are some very good young players ranging between the birth years of 1992 and 2000.”
Speaking of Italians, he was asked on why there were only two Italians in the Juve team against Genoa .
“Only few Italians against Genoa? One of the Italians on the pitch made our first big mistake. We have an important group of foreign players that know about Juve’s history.”
Allegri reflected some more on last week’s loss.
"There are numbers that tell us things, and also numbers that do not count. On Sunday we conceded three goals in the first half and it had never happened before, so stats are not the law.
"Time puts everything right. During the season there are some empty results. In the early 30 minutes in terms of mistakes, we committed anything and everything, they were minutes of terror. We must not carry this in a negative way.
"Human beings can make mistakes. We are still first in the league, the three defeats were all different. The Genoa one was really bad.
"When you suffer a defeat it is normal that during days after your pride is dented. For the first time in three months we spent a whole week working together. From defeats you come out stronger and try not to repeat them.”
He was also asked his opinion on downsizing the League from 20 teams to 18.
“The Scudetto? It’s been very nice and balanced so far. There’s only a few points separating the top seven, although the bottom four are some way adrift
“It’s proof that if the League had 18 teams, it’d be even more balanced and beautiful. Still, the Italian league remains one of the most beautiful in the world.”
The manager finished with an injury and form update on the squad.
"It will be hard for Paulo Dybala to play on Saturday. He could make the squad for the match against Atalanta, but he is more likely to return [against Dinamo Zagreb] on Wednesday.
"Gonzalo Higuain can also score without Dybala. Mario Mandzukic and Higuain are in fine shape, they can play together.
"Giorgio Chiellini is fine, Claudio Marchisio is fine. Andrea Barzagli is progressing well, Dybala is returning, Marko Pjaca is running. We therefore look to the positive things. We have six available defenders, this is plenty.
“Miralem Pjanic is important, he’s inserting himself in the team. He scored a fine goal on Sunday. He has contributed with important goals and assists. I'm happy with how he’s doing.
“Sami Khedira last year played 25 games, and is already almost at 20 this year in all competitions. It’s normal that he may have less intensity in some matches. This is part of the journey of a team that is playing every three days.
"I would say Mehdi Benatia has the best characteristics to replace Leonardo Bonucci (who is out injured).”