Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was furious at the final whistle, and stormed off towards the dressing room, and that barely captured how the fans in the stadium and at home around the world felt after the 1-1 draw against AC Milan. After taking the lead very early on, not only did they fail to add to that lead, they somehow contrived to throw it all away in the last fifteen or so minutes of the game and truly should consider themselves lucky they even got a point from this tepid affair at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Speaking to the television networks after the game, Allegri was still irate and would have probably needed to be restrained had any questions probed a little too deeply into what is clearly a sore spot for him now, the Bianconeri’s inability to hold a lead.
“Despite a good first half, when we created chances and allowed Milan just one opportunity, we even risked defeat at the end of a game that had been under total control.
“Unfortunately, we lost that concentration, determination and focus. Just look at the corner where we conceded the goal, there was complacency. It’s not possible to give this game away after being in control. Evidently, we need to make more progress. A lot more.”
The last time Juventus did not win a single league game in their first four fixtures, the Billboard top song of the year was ‘Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis, which quite adequately captures how Juve fans feel right about now about their Scudetto chances.
“This game doesn’t change anything in my view of Juventus. What we need to learn quickly is that there are games when you need to be tough, you have to be determined, to bring home the tackle, keep focused. This is part of the general growth process of some players.”
In a change from his usual style of locking up shop in the second half when defending a lead, Allegri actually made some attacking substitutions, a decision he would bitterly rue later.
“I will admit that I made mistakes on the substitutions, I got it wrong. I should’ve put more defensive players on and put the 1-0 lead under lock and key, so I take responsibility for that.”
The coach however still attempted to keep a brave face about matters with Juve now sitting in 18th place with two points from four games.
“It was important to get a positive result and we did. A defeat would’ve not definitively left us behind Milan, but a big advantage, now it is easier to bridge.
“The problem is that winning a game is one thing, winning a league is another, and that means not conceding goals due to errors like that. We can draw games if the other team does better, not if we give it away.
“There were some positives, in other words the first half, but what makes me angry are the final 15 minutes. We should’ve suffered more, been ready to fight tooth and nail. At those moments, you can’t look at being aesthetically beautiful, you just take the result home, even if it’s ugly.”
Allegri finished off with a flourish, raking his players young and old over the coals with some scathing comments.
“Fortunately the referee blew the final whistle, because we frankly risked defeat here. If you don’t realise that you must put all personal issues aside, work as a full-back even if you’re a striker, then you won’t bring these results home. All we’ll remember is that we threw away two points.
“I know you lot love talking about tactical systems, but when you are in front with 15 minutes to go, having practically not allowed Milan any shots on target, the system is irrelevant. You can be disorganised, but you need to be determined. If we take this attitude, it’s unlikely we can win the league.”