Juventus take on Lazio tomorrow as League action resumes after the international break, and manager Massimiliano Allegri cautioned his side to not take the Roman side lightly after the Supercoppa loss to them. The Bianconeri had clawed back a 2-0 deficit to tie the game late, but then conceded an even later winner as the defence scrambled to contain a rampant Lazio counter attack.
Speaking to the media today, Allegri said -
“The mistakes not to make against Lazio are the ones where you cede the pitch to them. You can’t allow counter-attacks, because in Rome we did well for the first 10-15 minutes, then we allowed them two or three counter-attacks and they’re very good on an open pitch.
“They’re a well-organised team, well coached, who close down the space very well and then can play in it.
“Tomorrow will be a difficult game, but even beyond tomorrow we need to make a big leap to tackle the season in the best way and be competitive in March.”
He went on to talk about Juve’s complacent habits in phases of the game which have seen them get into holes they then struggle to climb out of.
“We need to get rid of those moments which happened after the 2-0 against Sassuolo, at 2-0 after half-time against Torino when we conceded three free-kicks on the flank, and in Bergamo when we stopped playing as well as defending.
“So we need to work on that, because otherwise we’ll have to think too much about the attacking phase, but in games there’s also the defensive phase.
“These are the moments of the game we need to improve, because otherwise we risk throwing points away during the season.”
When pressed about what happened against Lazio the last time around, Allegri said -
“The Supercoppa was a strange match, because it was decided on the counter-attacks. In the last half-hour the team did well, but at the same time I remember the Lazio goalkeeper had the ball and four turned their shoulders, so there was less attention. That will make the difference this year.”
On his ambitions for the rest of the year, with all the competition this season -
“We want to arrive in March in the best condition, but we have to know that it will be much more difficult than last year because of the teams we’re up against.
“There’s Napoli, Roma, Inter, Milan and Lazio - this is a beautiful round for the league, because all of the top six are facing each other - and all six will be even more angry this year, even more determined to beat Juventus.
“So, knowing that, we have to improve and not give away the things we’ve given away at the start of the season, even if we’ve only drawn the one game in Bergamo.
“I repeat, this is the seventh year and the team has achieved great results for six years, and we’re still there. And they’re still there.
“This year we know all the teams in the league are against us, they want to beat Juventus. That means this year we have to do that little bit extra, and we need to do that in specific game situations.
“If we don’t we’ll become like other teams and drop points away from home. On the downside we dropped two points in Bergamo, but because we’ve dropped those two points in Bergamo we have to look for the positives.
“Now we know we can’t do things like that, because if we do we risk throwing the title away or not fighting for the title. Because Napoli have reached a certain maturity, because Inter are growing, because Rome are continuing what they did last year.
"Because Milan, even though they're behind right now, had a big transfer campaign to allow them to fight. And Lazio themselves have been doing important things in recent years, they won the Supercoppa by beating us and they're re-confirming what they did last year."