Juventus slipped to their fourth defeat of the season after just eleven rounds, something they haven’t done in living memory. Certainly, conceding fifteen goals at this stage of the season is the first time that has happened since the early ‘60s, and bringing back Massimiliano Allegri has certainly not had the reaction club leadership would have wanted.
Speaking after the 2-1 loss at Hellas Verona, Allegri expressed his frustration with the performance.
“Words are meaningless right now. We’re in a bad situation, we have to accept the reality that right now we are a mid-table team. We can get out of this situation with a little more determination and quality.
“We will drag ourselves out of this situation. There’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves, that won’t help, we just need to focus on what we need to do and then things will sort themselves out.”
Apart from their defensive woes, the misfiring attack hasn’t scored more than a single goal in a game in over a month and only have fifteen for the season, to match the points total.
“It’s a good squad, but things don’t always go your way in football. We have to react with pride and determination. We had to play like a team that had one point, and we did, now we have to play like a team that has 15 points.
“We realised Verona were going to make it physical and a battle for every ball, so if you don’t meet them at that level, you will lose.
“Wearing the Juventus jersey does not give us a guarantee we must beat the teams in mid-table. We have to earn every point and do it with the right attitude.
“Football is football, it is not fencing. You need to fight it out on the pitch at the same level. We lost a lot of tackles and aerial duels against Sassuolo too, and they are frankly not a very physical side.
“Verona knew that was how they had to play in order to beat Juventus. Our mistake was assuming we were better than Verona, and right now we are not. We must be realistic.”
The commitment level from the players was just not there in midweek nor in today’s game, and Allegri blasted his squad’s entitlement while simultaneously conceding that winning the league was out of question now.
“There is no big team that has ever won without respecting their opponents. We are lacking that desire to fight it out, because games are a battle.
“There’s nothing we can say now, we just need to stay silent and work hard to prove ourselves on the pitch.
“Scudetto? Well today was almost the final step for that.”
Despite Juventus pulling back a goal late, they never really threatened the Verona goal again in the final minutes and Allegri was livid, tearing off his coat much like he had against Carpi a few years ago.
“It’s not motivational, it’s just that the first chance we concede, the ball goes in. That’s not a coincidence, it’s about the attitude and we need to get back to the attitude we had earlier in the season.
“At this moment, everything looks negative, but we must be clear-headed, analyse what’s working and what isn’t, see who is more or less tired and can help out.”
Juventus’ profligate finishing was as responsible for losing this game as the defence, and speaking later, Paulo Dybala pretty much echoed the coach’s comments.
“Verona scored two goals very early, but it’s also true that they were sharper than us, winning many tackles and duels. At that point, we tried to score in any way we could, but we cannot afford to just gift the opposition a half of football.
“We must remember we are Juventus and we must respect this shirt, its history and the great champions who wore it in the past.
“We do it together. Each of us, before going to sleep tonight, must think about this game and how we can all give something more. We’ve got to learn the lesson, be humble and immediately focus on Tuesday in the Champions League.
“Those who play at Juve cannot be afraid.”