Juventus made hard work of things but were able to send Hellas Verona to their ninth straight defeat thanks to a deflected shot from Moise Kean to climb into the top four for the first time this season.
The Bianconeri were mostly unimpressive this game, struggling to create any real chances despite controlling possession for large periods, and needed Alex Sandro to take a red card for the team late on to preserve the 1-0 win.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri admitted his side made heavy weather of today’s game, the penultimate one before the World Cup break.
“It certainly wasn’t a great performance, but we know that against these teams who are very aggressive, we have to take a different approach. We could’ve done better in certain situations, but it’s already important that the lads recognised what attitude to take.
“It has been a tough time with many players out of action, the substitutes allowed us to get some fresh legs in. I congratulate the lads on the way they approached this game.”
The coach was seen yelling at both Kean and Angel Di Maria during the game.
“Kean was always in the wrong position, he needed to move a little wider to shake off his marker, which he did better in the second half. Adrien Rabiot attacked the spaces with his strong run, then I had to move Danilo as a full-back and it was a bit of an emergency situation.
“Kean doesn’t have the technique of the others, but he is a player who can be very important. If he played more regularly, he’d score more goals. I am happy above all with the improvement in his attitude and mentality compared to previous seasons, but he was born in 2000 and remains a kid.
“Angel and Leandro Paredes had some good moves, but it’s natural that there’s a World Cup coming up, so it’s not that they are holding back as such, but that is going to be in their minds.”
Two big decisions went Allegri’s way, with first Danilo’s handball on a deflected shot not given as a penalty or even reviewed by VAR, and then Leonardo Bonucci’s high boot not penalised since he was adjudged by the referee on the pitchside monitor to have gotten to the ball first. However, Sandro was deservedly sent off late on.
“In that incident, Paredes should’ve had the foul earlier to be honest, fortunately Alex took one for the team, otherwise we might be here talking about a different result. It’s similar to the situation where we conceded against Benfica because we didn’t foul when we should’ve done.”
Juve’s last game before the winter hiatus is against Lazio, who also won today to stay in third two points ahead of the Bianconeri.
“We must be satisfied with what we have done in these last five games, not only for the results obtained, but for how the team has grown. Now we’re in a good position in the table, we can be optimistic.
“Now we’ll think about Lazio. We have one last effort to give on Sunday, we shouldn’t look at the table now, it should be looked at in February when we will see in what condition we’re at.”