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Allegri: Praise makes Juventus lose sight of reality

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Manager’s post-match comments after Juve’s 3-1 win over Sassuolo.

Juventus FC v US Sassuolo - Serie A
Max Allegri
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus beat Sassuolo 3-1 earlier today, but manager Massimiliano Allegri was left ruing the chances missed and the perceived complacency that almost let the visitors back into the game.

“For 27 minutes the team played very well, even if early on we allowed Matteo Politano a shot on goal, which made us realise we needed to defend more carefully.

“As we were 3-0 up, I think we all should’ve defended better, as the game could’ve lasted 45 minutes and instead it was in the balance for 96 minutes. Paulo Dybala had a good game and was improving at the end of the second half.

“The fact we hear every day that Juventus are super strong and will no doubt win the Scudetto, Champions League and any other trophy is damaging. It makes us lose sight of the reality of these situations.

“We conceded two goals from corners this season already and that is too many. There are moments in the game when we are in our own half and must defend well, without letting the opposition get away from us. We all have to work hard and cannot just take it for granted that the three at the back will take care of things.”

When asked about the strength in depth at the midfield position -

“It was an objective, as we didn’t manage to rotate the midfielders as much. Miralem Pjanic likes more freedom and can roam, so the other two must move as a consequence. It’s good to avoid giving the opposition reference points.”

Can Gonzalo Higuain be the Serie A top scorer again after starting off with three goals in three games? Allegri replied tongue-in-cheek -

“The important thing is that Juventus win the Scudetto, because over the last three years the Capocannoniere hasn’t won the Scudetto.”

He continued -

“Higuain is a player who can make the difference and today we put in a very assured attacking display. However, we need to have more balance in the defensive third of the field. We did very well for the first 27 minutes, even if Gianluigi Buffon had already been forced into a fine save.

“We also need to work on the way we manage games after building strong leads, because we allowed them to have too many shots and risked letting them back into the match.”

Allegri was happy with Pjanic’s day -

“Today I handed him pretty much a free role in midfield because he often occupies a more central position when he gives rise to attacks. That’s why I think he’ll become a great player in that slot in front of the defence.”

On the start to the season -

“We’ve made a perfect start to the season, but then again we’ve only played three fixtures so far. We need to keep working to raise our game. Every day I keep hearing that we’re favourites for the title, but we still need to turn up and do the business.”

Finally, the upcoming Champions League resumes again midweek against Sevilla -

“The Champions League always ought to be an objective for Juventus. It was in my first year here and we reached the final. The minimum aim for us is to qualify for the last 16, then we’ll assess our chances again after the draw. In order to make things easier, it’s important that we top our group.”