Juventus struck when it mattered the most, and in typical fashion then squandered a handful of chances to extend the lead and equally looked that close to giving it up as well late on, all entirely possible realities for this team. Jose Mourinho and his AS Roma were at times run ragged and at other times made to feel like a competent flowing side as Massimiliano Allegri’s side once again masterfully dictated the pace of the game even without possession, by a nose of course <wink wink>.
Speaking after the game, Allegri paid tribute to his opposing number.
“It was a good game, because playing against Roma is never easy, especially when Jose Mourinho is on the opposition bench.
“We ran risks in the first half with a few Paulo Dybala balls that went into the box, but remained solid. We scored after the restart and could’ve had a second goal.
“It was important to win, especially as we continue to break away from the teams behind us. Once it comes to January 7, we’ll see how many points we racked up in the first half of the season.”
The Bianconeri have narrowed the gap with leaders Inter Milan back down to two points.
“At this moment, I think we are in good shape physically, the last three days of training were good too and we had some impressive passing moves today. We gave the ball away a bit too often and need to work on that, but above all on the diagonal passes and how to play out from the back.
“The best thing is that after conceding straight after taking the lead, see against Frosinone and Genoa, the team has returned to being afraid of conceding a goal. When you are afraid of conceding a goal, you defend with greater concentration.”
Dusan Vlahovic imposed himself today on the game and showed the confidence of a world-class #9.
“His last few games have been good, it was again an improvement this evening because he is in better shape physically. He can only get stronger, he can play alone or with a second striker. Yildiz is less of a striker than Chiesa, he is more about the vertical passes and less the counter-attacks.”
Inter’s defender Francesco Acerbi tried to deflect the pressure on the leaders after they dropped points against Genoa, saying Juve should be the favorites instead given they had outspent the
Mer Nerazzuri in recent years.
“I do not comment on Acerbi’s statements. Inter are two points above us right now, they are having an extraordinary season with 45 points, we try to stay up there near them, aware that we have a different journey to them.
“Just look at the average ages of the squads, we have many young players who are just starting their journey. We are satisfied with what we are doing, without looking at others.”
The January transfer window is upon us but Allegri wasn’t dropping any hints about what areas they would be targeting, if at all.
“The only way we can improve our squad is by working in training. We have young talents who are growing rapidly and the next I hope we’ll see in the senior squad is Joseph Nonge, who needs to be straightened out a little bit, but certainly knows how to play football.”
When asked which of the following three things — Juventus winning the Scudetto, Allegri still in charge next season, or his side back in the Champions League — he would wager would happen in the new year, Allegri didn’t take the bait.
“Juve back in the Champions League. In fact, this was a very important result, because we pushed Roma and the others in the chasing pack further behind us, so we have consolidated that advantage and are closer to mathematically securing Champions League qualification.”