Manager Massimiliano Allegri named a surprise 4-3-3 lineup with Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa and Juan Cuadrado all on the bench and Mandzukic spearheading the forward line with Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi on either side of him.
“The important thing now is that I choose a starting XI with technique, balance and physicality. That doesn’t mean those on the bench are useless, but I can’t play more than 11 at a time.”
“It was a different game to Chievo, but above all at the start we were a little hasty. The danger today was to get swept up in the enthusiasm of the stadium for Cristiano Ronaldo’s first at the Stadium and we should’ve had more patience.”
Allegri talked about the challenges of going in with the formation and personnel he did.
“I’m happy with the performance, it was our first head-to-head with one of the other big clubs and it went well.
“At times we fall asleep, at others we get frenetic, whereas we need more balance throughout. The spaces did open up after a while and we should’ve accelerated when the opponents were more fatigued.
“Once again, the substitutions were very important with Costa, Emre Can and Rodrigo Bentancur making an impact off the bench.”
The Bianconeri seemed to pick it up in the second half but Allegri warned there was little time left for the side to come together.
“We have to improve our tempo, our control and the way we read the game, but the centre-backs did a good job against Lazio’s dangerous counter-attacks.
“It’s one game per week in the first three rounds, but from September 15 onwards there will be midweek Champions League games too and naturally we’ll need everyone. The important thing is that those who come off the bench contribute in the right way.
“I have a very strong squad and have to evaluate everyone. We needed these characteristics in midfield today, but I could take a different approach to Parma.
“Dybala connects the lines, Bernardeschi can do that too, but those who were at the World Cup arrived late to pre-season training and not everyone finds their fitness levels at the same time. Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi have a different engine to others.”
Ronaldo failed to find his opening Juve goal despite having an open goal to shoot at, but the manager is not worried.
“Italian football is completely different to in Spain, Ronaldo understands that, and he is settling in very well. He’s a very humble guy and I’m very pleased with the impact he’s made so far.”