Juventus weathered some early pressure from hosts Malmö before three well-taken goals ensured their Champions League campaign started off on the right note. While the Swedish side were not expected to cause real problems, banana-skin fixtures of this nature abound in this competition and Massimiliano Allegri was happy to see his side click today.
Speaking after the 3-0 win, the coach commended his players for bouncing back well after another error-strewn debacle saw them lose at Napoli over the weekend.
“When you play in the Champions League, there is always some tension in the build-up, especially when playing away from home and there was naturally a little more pressure after three Serie A games in which we didn’t do that well.
“The lads played well on a technical level, we could’ve done better with some situations in the first half. We need to improve, but this doesn’t change the work we started on July 14.
“Results affect the way your work is judged, but we must do well to retain a balance both in defeat and above all in success.”
Juventus, long renowned for their defence, have been surprisingly leaky for the last couple of seasons and this was only their first clean sheet in any competition since the beginning of March.
“That is a sign too. I told the lads at half-time to end the game without conceding, as it takes away some anxiety. Wojciech Szczesny did well today, it was important to get this victory, otherwise the winless streak was going to get a bit too long!”
He went on to emphasize that his players needed to get out of their own heads a little more.
“The psychological aspect is 90 per cent of sport, because when you make individual errors like we did so far this season, it makes us see things negatively.
“I told the lads, when we had the chase back to win the Scudetto, we lost to Sassuolo after wasting about eight chances, but in the second half of the season we beat Sassuolo completely against the run of play. That was not a great Juve performance by any means, we played better the first time, but the result makes you see things differently.”
Another tough test awaits this weekend however, with a game on tap against AC Milan who have won three out of three so far in the league.
“Milan are very strong and going through a period of great enthusiasm, so it’s motivating for us to know it’s an important match.”