Juventus frittered away a comfortable two-goal lead against the league’s bottom club Sampdoria before reawakening in the second half to pick up another three points. Two goals from fluid, counter-attacking moves had threatened to create a big upset in Turin tonight after Bremer and Adrien Rabiot had put Juve up 2-0 with towering headers in the box. However, a second from the French midfielder as well as a first goal for young forward Matias Soule saw the hosts win 4-2, which included Dusan Vlahovic clatter an imposing penalty off the upright.
Speaking after the game, the coach was sympathetic to the plight of the Serbian striker who is going through a dry spell and seems simply unable to even buy a goal right now, including see his header from point-blank range saved and set up on a platter for Soule to nod home.
“With the penalty, you either go for a dink or you pick an angle.
“Vlahovic just needs to stay calm, he had a very good game, he did much better today on a technical level. Every now and then, he uses up too much energy, so he has to just take it easy. Let’s not forget he’s only been at Juventus for a year, he is doing well and has everything it takes to improve.
“Once he is able to learn that game management, he will be less hasty when the ball arrives and more clinical in finishing.”
Juve’s next game is a trip to Germany for the second leg of their Europa League Round of 6 clash, with Allegri’s side holding a narrow 1-0 advantage.
“I think the team must improve in game management. We were leading 2-0, we had to close up the spaces and go on the counter-attack. The older defenders should’ve told off the younger ones and got them back into position. These are situations you get when players haven’t had many games for Juventus.”
Young midfielder Enzo Barrenechea was once again given the start ahead of World Cup winning Argentine Leandro Paredes.
“I made a tactical choice. Compared to Manuel Locatelli and Barrenechea, Paredes is more of a metronome. Today I needed a player like Barrenechea.
“Nicolò Fagioli is growing as an engine of the team, he provided a great ball for Vlahovic. Soule scored today as well, another player who came up from the NextGen team.”
It looked like Rabiot was all but gone earlier this season, but the midfielder has really upped the ante in the goalscoring stakes, notching his career-best eighth and ninth goals of the season, and Juve will need more of that after the news that Paul Pogba will miss more games.
“He is a player you enjoy watching, he has a different engine to the others. My idea today was to give Rabiot 60 minutes and Pogba 30, but then he got injured. Bremer is fine, he has a slight pain in the tendon of his left knee, while Bonucci went off because he had a knock to the tibia and will be evaluated tomorrow.
“This morning Pogba was taking free kicks and felt a twinge in his adductor. He will have tests tomorrow, but he will certainly not be there on Thursday or next Sunday, so we’ll see him after the break for international duty.”
The Bianconeri are now only four points behind Atalanta in sixth place, and could genuinely pose a threat for a Champions League berth despite/in spite of the fifteen point deduction.
“We have picked up 53 points and that is very important. We won’t say anything about the appeal, because that is for the club to deal with. I repeat, since the sentence arrived, we reacted well against Atalanta, thought we had solved everything and then stumbled again.
“What these lads are doing is remarkable and that is what we are working for.”