Juventus bounced back from a surprise defeat last weekend by beating this season’s Cinderella team Atalanta 3-1. The Bianconeri looked dominant from the get-go and had a couple of stellar performances from Mario Mandzukic and Miralem Pjanic to key the win.
After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media.
“It was a good performance, above all in terms of intensity, although towards the end of the first half we allowed three dangerous through balls and could’ve done better there.
“You use up energy if you have to chase back on counter-attacks rather than just cutting off the supply in midfield.”
Pjanic played in the trequartista role in a new 4-3-1-2 system that Juve trained in all week, and the Bosnian excelled today.
“It wasn’t an experiment. I think Pjanic has more freedom to play in that position and can go deeper to help the midfield when needed.
“Once Dybala and Marko Pjaca return, we’ll have more options to choose from. I am glad we got back on track after 30 terrible minutes against Genoa.”
Mandzukic also had a very good game, tirelessly tracking back after the ball and throwing himself into challenges everywhere. He capped his night with a headed goal to put Juve up by three.
“Working for an entire week in training was frankly a new experience… We got the chance to work on fitness levels as well as tactics.
“The two strikers did very well and sought each other out, while Higuain could’ve scored tonight too.
“Mandzukic is a player who amid all the quantity also provides quality. If he stands there and acts as a classic centre-forward, he’s not as effective. He had a great game tonight and sacrificed himself for his teammates. Fortunately it was just a knock to the knee, as I was afraid he’d sprained it.
“If Mandzukic and Higuain press like this, I think there are games where we could play with those two and Dybala together, albeit with a more robust midfield.
“On Wednesday we must try to beat Dinamo Zagreb to secure first place in the Champions League group, because that’s the kind of game that can really be a minefield. After that we’ll think about the Turin Derby.”