Juventus disposed of SPAL 2-0 to maintain their position at the top of Serie A with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and captain for the day Mario Mandzukic.
Speaking after the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with how his side responded after the international break considering they had struggled in the past.
“It wasn’t easy today. In our first game back after the last ten breaks we’d only picked up 20 points – fewer than some of our rivals.
“SPAL are good at playing out from the back, they move the ball around well and they made it hard for us initially.
“In the second half, our shape was better with Douglas Costa in behind Mandzukic and Ronaldo and we looked better both with and without the ball.”
Allegri was also happy with the performances of a number of other players.
“Douglas Costa started the season well then went through a bit of a tricky spell but he’s fine now. He played really well today and showed great character.
“Rodrigo Bentancur has improved a lot both on the ball and when not in possession. There are areas he still needs to work on, for example finding space to play in players like Cristiano. He played a bit further back today because we wanted to make sure we weren’t caught on the counter. He’s been playing well recently and he’s definitely on the up.
“Cristiano does things that catch opponents off guard and that’s exactly what we need. Sometimes we play one pass too many and the moment is lost.
“Ronaldo moves and thinks so quickly, he saw Douglas Costa coming out the corner of his eye and pulled the pass back. We need to all improve in that sense, being able to think ahead to the next move.”
The manager commented on his reasons for rotating the squad as well -
“I do look at the characteristics of the opponents, but I make my choices above all based on motivation and determination. Every now and then, a spell on the bench is good for players, especially if they play all the time and can get a bit sleepy.
“It’s a very competitive squad. Daniele Rugani is a very good defender, but we have five excellent defenders. Medhi Benatia played against Milan because it was his kind of game, he had to get the crosses in the box.”