Juventus return to league action tomorrow after a tumultuous international break filled with doubts about where the storied club is headed after a series of uninspired performances to begin the season.
Massimiliano Allegri still has his job to the utter dismay of a good portion of the club’s fanbase, and speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Bologna’s visit tomorrow he expressed confidence that his side would turn things around.
“From tomorrow, a new season begins. We won’t forget the first month went badly, as the statistics don’t lie, we played nine games, lost three and drew four. We must be aware of the moment we are going through.
“Tomorrow we face a Bologna side who did not deserve their defeat to Empoli. We are trying to bring Juventus back to winning ways with hard work and passion. We all have to be up for debate. There are moments when things go well, others when they don’t, but you must be ready to get things back on track.”
Despite having already played seven games in the league and twice in the Champions League, Allegri is not worried.
“We have plenty of time to recover, both in Serie A and the Champions League. Fortunately, football always gives you a chance to start again.
“Over the last two weeks, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas, understand the problems and try to find solutions. The trouble is the tendency is to seek the problems, instead we need to focus on solutions. One of the main things is to deal with unexpected events better, such as against Salernitana or Roma.
“It is not the first rough period I’ve been through. The important thing is to be hungry, seek out a challenge you can win.”
Allegri was asked why he chose to keep veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci out of the lineup away at Monza.
“He had only played three games, was tired and I preferred to rest him. Even though he is the captain, Bonucci is 35 years old and we have matches every three days. The same goes for Danilo and Juan Cuadrado, it’s difficult to have a set starting XI with this schedule.”
The coach also gave a squad fitness update after the international break.
“The two weeks of training allowed us to recuperate Alex Sandro, Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot both physically and mentally, so they are ready to play.
“As for the others, Federico Chiesa will be ready to work with the ball a little more from next week. Paul Pogba hasn’t started running yet, so we need to see how that evolves, a lot of water will flow under the bridge before he gets to play.”
Angel Di Maria is suspended for two games following the red card he got in that loss at Monza, so would Allegri try to get both Arkadiusz Milik and Dusan Vlahovic on the pitch together again?
“They can co-exist, we are trying to get the best out of them.”
How about Locatelli, would he be put in a position to succeed under Allegri. especially with reports that Manchester United had approached him this summer?
“Locatelli had an extraordinary season last year, this time he didn’t start in the best way, but the break for international duty helped. I believe he will be a future pillar of Juventus, both for his qualities on the field and off them.”