The Sunday Italian papers are carrying a headline dubbing Juventus as ‘scary’, and with good reason because this Bianconeri squad is displaying a monotonous relentlessness that we last saw during the Max Allegri title-winning years.
To be fair, there’s very little that’s pretty or eye-catching about this brand of football apart from the fact that it continues to grind out win after win. That’s eight consecutive clean sheets and eight consecutive wins now. Had you said aloud at the beginning of this season that this motley crew of defenders would somehow not concede a goal in twelve separate league games even before the halfway stage of the season, you would have likely been laughed out of the room. Yet, here we are.
Speaking after the 1-0 victory ground out against Udinese, Allegri commended his side’s consistent effort.
“We are in a good period of form, but we must raise the bar in terms of performances. We didn’t have the right concentration against Cremonese, it was better with Udinese who are a strong side and we had more chances in the second half.
“We brought home the win late on because of good fitness levels and also mental strength. Technical skill is crucial, but if you don’t have that desire to give that little bit extra and get there a few centimetres before your opponent, you don’t win these games.”
Juve are developing a reputation for these late wins, should his side be working on starting the matches better instead?
“We were a bit too hasty at times with our crosses and passes. In the second half, McKennie was in a more central midfield role and we put more pressure on, so he has different characteristics playing wide and we knew there could be difficulties, but that the game would improve as time wore on.
“Manuel Locatelli struggled a bit today coming off a draining experience in Cremona. Paredes can become an important player above all if he plays to send his teammates on goal, as he has such great vision and I think he needs to pick those passes more. He’s more than capable of it, so he needs to improve on those choices.”
Angel Di Maria sparked the attack with his performance today, but hobbled off at the hour mark, what’s his status?
“Di Maria played 60-70 minutes at a good level, he played well and I am happy with all the lads, who showed heart and hunger. Once we start playing every three days, we will need everyone in good shape and ready to play.
"His performance was extraordinary on a technical level, in the second half he had a couple of marvellous moves. He is a player on another level.
“It was just a bit of cramp, nothing to be too concerned about. It’s normal after playing 65 minutes when he had been off the field for 15 days.”
Milan and Napoli play on Sunday, but for now Juve are in second a point ahead of the Rossoneri and now just four points off the league leaders. Inter meanwhile dropped points away at
bunga bunga Monza Monza to fall three points behind the Bianconeri now.
“We started slow and therefore have to keep working. This is an important win, because it consolidates our position in the top four.”
Next up on Friday night is a trip to play Napoli who just lost their first league game of the season at Inter.
“Napoli are still clearly the favourites to win the Scudetto, they have a big advantage, whereas we want to consolidate the top four. We’re almost halfway through the season and are doing well.
“As I said, raising the bar means the performances rather than the results or targets. We have to take it one step at a time, focus on working and achieving the minimum objective, which is a top four finish.”