Juventus rode their luck at times with their threadbare squad doing just enough to punish a wasteful Sassuolo on their home patch. The hosts went ahead in the first half capping off an attacking performance that had Juve chasing shadows at times, much like in their previous two clashes this season.
However, Alvaro Morata capped off a hardworking performance stealing the ball just before the break to set up Paulo Dybala for the equalizer, before his replacement late on Moise Kean snatched all the points with a precise turn and finish.
Speaking after the game, Massimiliano Allegri was complimentary of his team’s efforts.
“It was an important victory for the table. Sassuolo played very well, we clung in there, although we were a bit too sluggish in the first half and they were able to pierce through us easily.
“We did better after the break and were missing a few players, there was fatigue after the Coppa Italia game midweek, so we can only thank the lads. It’s a good advantage over fifth place, we are a point off Napoli, so we have to keep working for the objective, which is fourth place.”
A significant proportion of Juventus fans have been livid at the coach for their limp performances in recent weeks, despite the Bianconeri having the best record in the league since the turn of the year.
“With four rounds left in the season, you have to win the games. The rest does not count for anything. Above all, people need to understand the moment we are going through. We cannot try to do what we can’t do right now, we have to focus on doing what we can do.
“The team played the game it needed to play, knowing Sassuolo were fresh, have good technique. We also lost Matthijs De Ligt and Juan Cuadrado, the last substitute was Fabio Miretti, so we just had to get the points.”
When pressed on what exactly it was was that the Bianconeri were unable to do, he added -
“Our two creative midfielders, Arthur and Manuel Locatelli, are out of action. We’ve been without Weston McKennie for three months, without Federico Chiesa for six months. It’s the same players all the time, I had to try to reshuffle the pack to try to put a team out with Danilo in midfield.
“I was trying to bring home a draw, because a draw would’ve been an important result here. There are moments when the team is in good form and when it’s not. I don’t like the idea of committing football suicide.
“We are tired, it was not easy to get a result here.”
Allegri has previously mentioned that Juve’s slow start to the season was due to Cristiano Ronaldo departing after the campaign had begun, how has his squad improved since then?
“The team has improved a great deal over the season. I was very angry tonight, as in the final minutes we should’ve controlled the ball better and taken the result home, but there were young lads who don’t have the experience and don’t understand it yet. We need them to learn quickly.
“We played many months without important players who do a lot of running, like Chiesa, McKennie, Arthur, while Danilo was out for three months too.
“We need to keep working, bringing in two or three players that we need, but we don’t need to scrap everything and start again.”