It wasn’t pretty at times, but Juventus ground out a 1-0 win over Spezia at home to maintain their grip on fourth place, solidified by Atalanta’s loss yesterday against AS Roma. Napoli’s home loss against AC Milan in the evening game now means Juve are only four points behind the Neapolitans on the same number of games played, with ten games left to go in the season.
Speaking after today’s victory, coach Massimiliano Allegri commented on the difficulty of obtaining the three points.
“It was a good start, we should’ve had more than two goals in the first half. Then some fatigue set in, which can happen when you have so many players out and cannot rotate.
“If you want to reach your objectives, you have to play these games with suffering and it was important to bring home the three points. We need to prepare for Sampdoria, then Villarreal and continue this cycle in the best possible way.”
As always, there were grumbles of discontent among the fanbase on the nature of the win.
“I have never seen a team win every game easily. You get to the Champions League and all your targets through performances like this, winning 1-0 with suffering.
“People forget quickly in football, but in my five years we had a lot of 1-0 results spent sitting in our own half for the final 20 minutes. The important thing is not to let anything go in those moments.”
Once Juve score they tend to be less adventurous, especially under Allegri.
“Spezia were pushing forward better in the second half, we allowed them a few efforts and Szczesny made a good save, but we had a few favourable situations too. It’s only natural we’d be a bit tired at the moment.”
Allegri gave an update on Paulo Dybala’s latest injury which kept him out of the game.
“It is disappointing, as Paulo stopped in training so was not available. Fortunately it’s nothing serious, so I hope to have him back if not against Sampdoria, then with Villarreal.”
The coach finished up with comments on Daniele Rugani has settled in as a centreback pairing with Matthijs De Ligt, the strike pairing of Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata, and Arthur who is finding his feet in the lineup as well.
“Rugani played a good game, but this year is not the first time; now we have to recover players, also because, in this way, those who always play manage to detach a little.
“Vlahovic and Morata are looking for each other a lot, perhaps too much: they still need to improve the understanding but they are already doing very well, and it was the same tonight.
“Arthur? He is doing well and is doing excellent things, with Locatelli he gives a great quality to the midfield.”