Juventus jumped into a first half lead and never relinquished it despite pressure from hosts Sampdoria to come away from the Marassi with three points to keep the pressure on Napoli ahead of them while extending their lead over Atalanta to nine points now, though the Bergamo side do have two games in hand over the Bianconeri.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri credited Alvaro Morata for a fine performance that saw him bag a brace.
“Alvaro is one of the best forwards on a technical level in Europe. He will struggle more if you use him with his back to goal. If he plays a little wider, with the space to run inside and use his characteristics, he’s excellent.
“The team did well on a technical level today. We need to improve when we’re in control of the match, lower the tempo and then speed it up with a vertical pass to close it. We need to understand when it’s time to be patient and wait a moment.
“Sampdoria are not an easy team to face, we needed this result to consolidate fourth place and prepare for Villarreal in the best way.”
Moise Kean got the start as new signing Dusan Vlahovic finally got a break, how did Allegri rate his performance?
“Kean did well, he earned the penalty, sparked the move for the first goal, so he is an important player for this squad. Naturally, he is young and still needs to improve, especially his touch and control, but can be devastating when he has space to run into.”
The latest episode of the Adrian Rabiot trainwreck saw the midfielder concede a penalty (that Wojciech Szczesny saved brilliantly) and was lucky to not get sent off as well, what were Allegri’s thoughts on him?
“He gives the feeling he can score 10 goals, but he hardly ever does. He needs to feel more freedom and be more effective upfront.”
The coach has continued to insist that Juve are not really in the race for the Scudetto, and with Paulo Dybala inching closer and closer to leaving the club as a free agent, the coach was asked which of the two unlikely events was more probable to happen.
“I don’t know. Paulo is discussing it with the club, we hope to have him available on Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, striker Morata is relishing his role and his importance to Juve remains undiminished despite the arrival of Vlahovic in January.
“I had a conversation with the coach when we started the season. When your boss has faith in you, that means something, because we all want to hear those words that give you confidence and fuel your desire to work even harder.
“I am happy because the team has now found this unity and spirit of sacrifice. It’s a very different atmosphere to earlier in the season.”
It is still unclear if Juve will bring him back to Turin next season when his loan expires this summer.
“The future is not up to me. If I am not here next season, I will still be the biggest Juve fan. We will try everything we can to win the league title.
“We are Juve, it has been a bit of an odd year, but anything can still happen in Serie A and the Champions League. Juve are one of the best sides in the world, so I am proud to be here and happy to play any role that is asked of me.”