Juventus came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with La Liga outfit Espanyol in the champions’ last external pre-season game before taking on Fiorentina in the season opener next Saturday. The senior squad will take on the Primavera team on Wednesday to finish off the summer.
The Bianconeri struggled to make chances in the first half of the game, played in Modena’s Stadio Alberto Braglia. Manager Massimiliano Allegri even experimented with a three-striker trident formation in the second half, but had to come from behind late in the game to tie it.
“On Saturday the real season begins against Fiorentina, so we must ensure that we are ready.
“It was a good training session this evening, although we struggled to find spaces in the first half. There were some defensive black-outs, but we also made the most of our chances.”
Record striker signing Gonzalo Higuain started for the first time, but looked off the pace once again in the three-forward setup -
“He and those who started pre-season training later will need a while to get to the same level. I don’t know if Paulo Dybala as a trequartista behind Mario Mandzukic and Higuain is a good idea, but it’s certainly an idea. These players have the characteristics to do it, though clearly everyone must be willing to work hard.”
When asked if Juve would look to replace Paul Pogba, whose transfer was finally confirmed in the past week, he said -
"The important thing is that the player is talented, technically gifted and has the character to play for Juventus. The market closes on August 31 and the club has done very well so far.
"We don't need a new striker, as there would be no point signing someone inferior to the level we already have."
Allegri also spoke about summer signing Miralem Pjanic, who he is using in a more withdrawn manner, where Andrea Pirlo played in front of the defence -
“He seems like Hernanes, who last year had never played in front of the defence and now looks like a totally different player. Miralem is a top player and I believe he can become one of the world’s best in that position just in front of the defence. He just has to learn to play the kind of passes, which are more typical for that area on the field.”