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Max Allegri and his urge for Juventus to score more

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On numerous occasions this season, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has implored his squad to venture forward and score again after taking a lead.

Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Go for the throat. Juventus, to be sure, have had a remarkable start to the season. In fact, it has been historic. No Juventus team has gotten off to a Serie A start as dominant in this. The Bianconeri are flying high, and yet, manager Massimiliano Allegri has been critical of the ability of his squad to finish off games.

One to nothing. A win is a win. But sometimes, protecting a 1-0 lead can get you in trouble. Sometimes, even when you are the better team, one goal is not enough to get the result you deserve. Sometimes you capitulate on a grand stage, such as in the Champions League, due to scoring once and then proceeding to squander the opportunity to double your lead. Doing this may allow your opponent seize the game from right under your nose during the worst ten-minute stretch of the season to close out a game, and end up stealing the whole result.

Yes, Juventus have been splendid for the most part. But they can be even better. Genoa and Manchester United both came from behind to steal points from Juventus in matches where the Bianconeri outplayed and outclassed their opponent.It was almost to the point where the games did not even feel competitive at times.

Twice, however, Juventus have given up results due to their failure to be clinical in the final third.

Twice, Allegri has come out and stated publicly that he needs his team to be more venomous and lethal around goal.

On Oct. 26, less than a week after Juventus let a one-goal lead against Genoa turn into a draw, Allegri came out and stated that “Compared to how much we create we, however, score few goals. We need to improve in this regard.”

You watch Juve play and it is immediately apparent how much time they spend in front of their opponent’s goal. They are, in fact, averaging 19.5 shots per game to their opponents’ 8.7. In the Champions League, the numbers aren’t as one-sided but still in Juventus’ favor —16.8 compared to 10.6 by their opponents, according to WhoScored.

Juventus are spending more than enough time around the opposing goal to rattle off shots and add more than one goal to their tally. In fact, when Juve score early and you factor in that the other team will have to open themselves to going forward more to find an equalizer, logic indicates that they’re much more likely to score again. And yet, in the two matches where Juventus have dropped points, the lone goal in both of them came before the 20-minute mark in the first half. A statistical anomaly, and yet it seems to keep happening.

Recently, Allegri came out again and commented that “[the team] played well though we could have done better. Some chances we should have stuck away.” Referring to the game against Valencia on Nov. 27, Allegri meant that his side was still wasteful in front of goal, albeit against a defensive side that fought hard. But again, he chose to allude to his team’s inability to make the most of their abundance of chances — Juve took 20 shots, with six of them on target. Surely, more than one of those should have found the back of the net.

Allegri is happy with the performance of his squad, and should be. However, his managerial style borders on paranoia, with rarely ever a moment during the season where he feels comfortable. In this case, his mind is telling him that Juventus must grow in finishing quality to reach their goals.

No doubt, the fact Allegri has said it a couple times in the media means he is preaching it frequently to his team. As the season goes on, Juventus will continue to grow and improve. Most recently, against Fiorentina, they were able to turn an early one goal lead into a 3-0 result. The hope is that more goals will accompany the overall growth of the squad as this season rolls on.