Juventus go into their Champions League game tomorrow against Sporting Club Portugal having hit a slump, drawing with Atalanta and losing at home to Lazio sandwiching an international break.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri called for calm despite the weekend reverse, saying that the team needed to regain its composure.
“The atmosphere is good. We have to regain the balance. We can’t get depressed, because we drew in Bergamo and we lost at home to Lazio - losing and drawing happens.
“In football there are times when things go well and times where they go less well, moments where you have good opponents and moments where the opponents aren’t as good.
“It’s normal that we have to work on the mistakes we’ve made, but the mistakes were only in attention and game management, as happened in eight minutes against Lazio.”
The dropped points do not doom Juve’s chances of a historic seventh Scudetto according to Allegri -
“Juventus have had a good start to the season. At the moment the ones who have done something important are Napoli, because they’ve won all eight games so at the moment we can say that the season is theirs.
“It’s a very long season, it will be a beautiful and exciting one because the fixture list is beautiful, there will be three head-to-head games right at the end, so there will be great suspense and it’ll be very entertaining.
“I’m already thinking about when we get to March and there are the last five rounds - the pressure, preparing the matches… that will be a very fun period.”
However, the focus needs to remain on the present.
“Right now the important thing is tomorrow, tomorrow is a complicated game against a team that defends very well, with an experienced Coach [Jorge Jesus] who is good at preparing these games.
“They actually played a very good game against Barcelona. So we’ll need a lot of patience and the right mentality, knowing we have a great chance to go through in these two games.
“If not we’ll have to score points against Barcelona and over in Greece. It’s 180 minutes, two games, and we’re ready.”
There is still work to do for the Bianconeri though.
“As we saw on Saturday with what happened in those eight minutes, anything can happen in football and that’s what makes it great.
“If you give that ball to Gonzalo Higuain 100 times, I think 110 times it’ll end up in the goal but just because of a physical thing it didn’t, and you have to accept that.
“We need to work on our little shortcomings right now, the defensive phase and game management.”
On what he expects from tomorrow’s opponents, who have done well so far -
“I’ve already said what game I expect, a difficult game, a Champions League game. The games are different in the Champions League.”
Paulo Dybala missed a late penalty over the weekend that could have drawn the Lazio game, is that still weighing on his mind?
“I spoke to him yesterday, he has to reach a balance. After the first few games he was being compared to Messi, now because of the penalties he isn’t anymore.
“He’s young and extraordinary, these things will strengthen him and allow him to find a balance. It’s not like he should be exalted if he scores a hat-trick against Sassuolo, or beat himself up if he misses two penalties in a row.
“It’s the same as Federico Bernardeschi, who is inserting himself. Playing for Fiorentina, with all due respect, is a different thing from playing here.
“Will Dybala take the penalties? Always him. That absolutely will not change.”
In team news for tomorrow’s game, especially in regards to the right back position -
“These are the two solutions, Stefano Sturaro or Andrea Barzagli.
“More than the characteristics of Sporting, it’s about who convinces me more. Sturaro has had some good games at full-back though, and I think it’s definitely a role where he can do well.”
As far as the rest of the team, his update was positive -
“I have to see the training session today and tomorrow morning, but there could be some changes. I’ll have to see today, but everyone is fine.
“Miralem Pjanic is back and Sami Khedira has recovered, the only ones who are still out are Claudio Marchisio, who is doing well, Mattia De Sciglio the same, Benedikt Howedes the same and Marko Pjaca who is being gradually reintegrated in the squad.
“Pjanic is available, he’s rested and I’ll see in the training session today. Miralem is fine though, there’s no problem.”