Juventus scored just the once and then had goalkeeper Mattia Perin make a fantastic save very late on to save the win away at Bologna. Manager Massimiliano Allegri wasn’t surprised by the performance on the day.
“It was only natural there would be a hangover after such an important game as the Champions League. We allowed Bologna very little until the final save that Mattia Perin made to turn it on to the upright.
“This is a crucial result, as it means we’ll go into the head-to-head with Napoli at least 13 points clear at the top of the table.
“We’re hoping to get some players back, although Douglas Costa is probably the only one who could recover. We’re glad that Napoli are coming up, because that is an important test for us just before Atletico.”
Allegri appeared to try some creative changes to the lineup today, with Joao Cancelo playing forward and Federico Bernardeschi lining up in the midfield.
“It’s one game from the start and another when coming on for the last 20 minutes. I asked Cancelo to give us more width and he has more room there to push forward and make the most of his characteristics.”
Naturally, the manager was asked if those changes were in preparation for the return leg against Atletico Madrid in three weeks.
“I’ll see if I get some divine inspiration. We could’ve done better in attacking between the lines, but the side we face in Turin will be very different. I think they’ll be even more defensive and clammed up, so we have to be more precise in our passing.”
Juve have struggled mightily in the last few weeks, but the manager was adamant it was not related to the January winter break.
“Miralem Pjanic has been coughing, sneezing and had a temperature for a week now. I actually asked him before he went on today if he could even breathe properly and he said yes.
“Giorgio Chiellini had half a game against Frosinone after that calf injury and then played in Madrid. The fitness levels will certainly improve over the next couple of weeks.
“I said we were fortunate that we aren’t playing Atleti again for a while, because I knew the condition of several players was not good and we can improve it.
“Of course, I don’t know that, it might be a disaster in the second leg, but I doubt it. I am optimistic and have faith we can turn this around.
“I tell the lads we need to put a few drops in the bottle every day and by the time we reach March 12, it’ll be pretty full.”