Juventus had their hands full in a 2-1 win against a surprisingly competitive AC Milan side who were no doubt inspired by the big stage of playing at the champions’ home. The Rossoneri pressed with vigor in the first half, forcing an injury-hit Juve to reorganize a couple of times, and even grabbed the opener following a misplaced pass from Leonardo Bonucci.
However Paulo Dybala equalized from the penalty spot midway through the second half, and then wonderkid Moise Kean (of course) bagged the winner with just minutes left as tensions started spilling over with tackles flying and accusations abounding as they always do in such games.
After the game manager Massimiliano Allegri, who was coaching against his former side, spoke of the expectations of winning games like this.
“It was important to win, as it’s always a special fixture Juventus-Milan. Now we need a win or a draw. It was a good response from the players, some of whom haven’t played as much lately.
“The first half was not good, as we were a bit chaotic, but after the break we were more organised and moved the ball around cleanly.”
Allegri was forced to name a pretty creative lineup.
“We were up against Milan, so we couldn’t not focus. I knew we could have problems against them, as it was the first time we used Alex Sandro as a centre-back in the three, with Mattia De Sciglio and Leonardo Spinazzola as the wing-backs, Federico Bernardeschi in midfield. We also lost Emre Can to injury and had to readjust there too.
“I always say players have to be placed in their best positions, but when you are 18 points clear at the top, then you have to make a few changes. For example, Blaise Matuidi has been running for two years, he looked as if he was wandering around the field drunk last time, so he needed to rest and I put someone else in.
“Piatek had that chance in the opening few minutes with a header wide and we should’ve conceded then, but other than that, Milan didn’t create much that didn’t come from our errors.”
Paulo Dybala tied the game, but appeared visibly unhappy to come off for the eventual matchwinner Moise Kean.
“Dybala wants to play, of course, as does everyone, but the goal will certainly give him more confidence. In a big club, all the teammates are trying to steal your spot, so it’s going to be a permanent battle.
“All those who came off the bench were decisive this evening, so the decisions for a Coach are not just who starts, but who can come on and change the game.”
On the topic of Kean, who has had quite the week so far, Allegri added -
“Kean came off the bench and scored, he is a young man doing very well and should be allowed to continue like this. I appreciated his celebration today, too.
“We all decided within the club that it was best to keep Kean. He is the only centre-forward alternative to Mario Mandzukic. We also wanted to have him keep training with us because he needs to improve technically. He makes technical errors that are still very obvious and loses the ball cheaply.
“I think training with champions is very helpful, as he learns it takes more than good feet to be a professional player at a big club, you need mentality and hard work too.”