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Allegri: Kean must be ready to work hard and improve

Manager’s comments after Juventus seal late win over Empoli

Juventus v Empoli - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus left it late to beat Empoli, with youngster Moise Kean scoring the winner late on. Speaking after the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri talked about the teenage striker’s ambition of emulating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s goalscoring exploits.

“It’s only right to have ambition when you are training with Juventus and surrounded by these champions. The difference at this level is mentality and he needs to above all be professional over time, be ready to work hard and improve every day.

“He’s got the characteristics and the quality to be a great player, but so did many lads who lost their way over the years.”

Paulo Dybala was injured in the warmup, but did Allegri have any thoughts of starting Kean instead of putting in Rodrigo Bentancur?

“No, because scoring two goals for Italy in as many games, having all that attention, it uses up a lot of energy both physically and mentally. He returned from international duty and looked like he barely knew where he was.

“We had a few players who were tired after international duty and you need to share out the effort in these situations.

“Dybala had a knock during international duty and he felt the muscle harden during the warm-up, so we decided not to risk it.”

Empoli did well to frustrate the home side and had their own chances to score as well.

“We struggled in the first half and couldn’t get a grip on Empoli’s shape, but we changed some things and had an excellent second half, not allowing them a shot on goal.

“Empoli were very aggressive early on and we showed patience, waited for them to drop and raised our tempo, revving up the engine. Sometimes you need to do that, it’s not that because we are Juventus, we automatically win every game.

“It’s never easy after the break for international duty and it was good that we won like this, 1-0 with a struggle to get the points. It’s another step forward.

“We had prepared Dybala between the lines, but losing him at the last minute, I had to make some changes. I decided to wait until half-time to make the necessary adjustments, as it was quite difficult to get the message across.

“Now we have seven games in 20 days and fortunately we are recovering some players who can give us a big hand.”