Juventus won a close battle 1-0 at home against Genoa to maintain the narrow gap of one point between the Bianconeri and Serie A leaders Napoli. In a game filled with wasteful finishing from both teams, manager Massimiliano Allegri said that his side were tired after a long week of hard training as Juve returned from the short winter break.
“We were a little bit tired at the end of the game, more than being anxious about the result. There was the desire to get a result at home and we worked very hard during the week.
“It was important to win to stay in Napoli’s slipstream, and start again after the break.
“It’s a challenge to ourselves, winning a seventh Scudetto would be extraordinary, beyond legendary, so we have to do well and wait for the right moment.
“The lads worked really hard during the week, and that workload made it difficult tonight. At the same time though, we didn’t give Genoa anything.”
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri had previously said that Juventus would have an advantage in the next few weeks with their games coming before his side get in action.
“It’s not up to me when we play, I won’t reply to Sarri, who should be happy with the result [against Atalanta] and being top of the league.
“It’s a beautiful duel at the moment, I have nothing more to say. There are bodies who can respond to this, I don’t understand how the calendar works.”
Club legend and captain Gigi Buffon will miss out on the Serie A appearances record this season, but returns to action this week.
“He’ll return in the week, he’s ready to return and so are others. He’s the starter, even if Wojciech Szczesny is having an important season.
“Mario Mandzukic had an excellent match, as did others. Gonzalo Higuain played well for the team too, he could have scored and was unlucky.
“He put in a good performance and I’m sure he’ll be back among the goals soon.”
After a poor start to the season defensively, Juve have returned to their magisterial selves conceding just once in their last 12 games.
“They [the defenders] are doing well, as are Andrea Barzagli and Daniele Rugani. There are times when two will play more than others, but the whole team works in the defensive phase, if they didn’t we’d have problems.”