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Allegri: Juve becoming a team, still have room for improvement

Coach’s comments after controversial Derby d’Italia loss in Turin

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Juventus failed to take advantage of a game they dominated, creating the better chances against hated rivals Inter Milan. However, some controversial refereeing decisions saw the Nerazzuri come away 1-0 winners from Turin and keep their hopes of retaining the Scudetto alive.

Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri refused to be drawn into a debate about the inconsistent refereeing during this game.

“Let’s avoid saying things that won’t help right now. I am happy to talk about the performance. It was a good game from my team, we played well, had lots of shots on target, it’s a pity about the defeat.

“It was a good Juventus, this team is improving, we had more vertical passes, found the strikers better and did well on a technical level.”

The coach has insisted that Juve were never in the Scudetto race and was emphatic in his confirmation.

“Finally, people can say Juventus are definitively out of the Scudetto race! We just need to get as many points as possible to secure fourth place, then get ourselves ready for a strong start to the next season.

“Next season, we will have been working together for a year, so we will start trying to win the Scudetto. Naturally, this year we started badly and had to recover a lot of games. We were also beaten by individual incidents in the big matches.

“We should see the glass half-full, we are becoming a team, we still have real margin for improvement and need to work on further strengthening those aspects.”

Now that it is known that Paulo Dybala will be leaving Juventus this summer, who have the club identified as a replacement?

“I have to meet with the club to discuss the situation. After this match is definitely not the right time for that meeting.

“I was watching back our Champions League game last night and it was very similar, we had so many chances, but we didn’t score. I wanted to see if the judgment people had on our performance was fair, but they really weren’t even close.”

Allegri went aggressive for this game, switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation that was active and vibrant for most of the game.

“I had only one doubt in midfield, but Adrien Rabiot had an extraordinary performance this evening. He has been criticised so much, but he was fantastic tonight. Denis Zakaria also had a great game coming in for Manuel Locatelli, as every time he plays, he has at least one scoring opportunity.”

The coach provided an update on the midfielder who left the game in the first half.

“He got his head smashed in, but the problem was the knee, it looks like a strained collateral [knee] ligament, he should be out for 20 days.”

Who is Allegri tipping for the Scudetto now?

“You just have to look at the fixture list to know Inter are the favourites. They got an important win here, they have a game in hand, this was a confidence-booster and yes after tonight’s match they are the favourites.”

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Midfielder Rabiot also echoed his coach’s comments about Juve’s performance tonight and the similarity with the loss at home against Villarreal in Champions League, but unlike Allegri was not hesitant to point his finger at questionable refereeing.

“I am happy with my performance and that of the team. We had a great game, but unfortunately couldn’t score a goal.

“Just like in the Champions League, we were only missing a goal. Juve played better in both those games than the other team, as far as I am concerned.

“We hit the woodwork, perhaps should’ve had a penalty too. The referee decided the match this evening. I think the foul on Denis Zakaria was inside the area. It was an important incident that unfortunately changed the game.”