Juventus needed to start winning some of these games against the teams sitting ahead of them in the league table to have any chance of ensuring a Champions League berth, but found themselves outplayed by an under-strength Napoli side before coming back to draw 1-1 at home as the second half of the season got underway.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri tried to defend his side’s mostly uninspired performance.
“It was a head-to-head for position and Napoli were missing four first choice players, we were missing six last time, so these things happen.
“We had the chances to take the lead, but were a little imprecise and hasty in the final third. We got back on level terms and then were hasty again.
“We have to see this in positive terms, as a point gained. I’d like to see more calm and focus in the final third, but some of it is also to do with the characteristics of the players. Napoli have some excellent passers, we have some areas where we need to improve, but overall it was a good performance.”
Goalscorer Federico Chiesa started out on the left before switching over with Federico Bernardeschi.
“Seeing as Faouzi Ghoulam only played 34 minutes this season, it was normal to put Chiesa against him with that kind of pace and aggression. After the equaliser, we went too quickly for the long ball and needed more patience.
“We ought to score a few more goals, but we got Chiesa on target, did better with set play situations and had that chance with Weston McKennie, so we’re getting there.”
Juve’s issues with scoring goals continue to plague them this season with scant goalscoring contributions from the midfield.
“Adrien Rabiot did better in the first half, we should’ve had more attacking moves from the midfielders and above all sharpness in the final third, when picking the right final pass. We are fifth in the table, but scored only 28 goals, so we know it’s something we have to work on.
“The lads were aggressive, concentrated, we just need to improve that aspect where we have the game in hand and can be patient. We shouldn’t keep going for the long ball or trying to rush our way forward, it’s about passing and getting there.”