Juventus lost a second consecutive league game to slow down their charge towards the European spots, losing 1-0 away at Sassuolo on Sunday night.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri tried to keep a level head about the disappointing result.
“We did not play well for an hour, then reacted after the slap in the face of the goal. It was an important game for the table, but it was a second consecutive defeat in Serie A, both away from home.
“We’ve got to get back on our feet, work on what we got wrong and take a different approach to the matches.”
With some key games coming up in the Europa League and Coppa Italia, not to mention a clash against runaway league leaders Napoli, what was Allegri going to say to his squad?
“We need to take it one game at a time. There are players like Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba who are getting back into shape, while others have played a lot more and are fatigued. That is not an alibi, as we were distracted on the corners.
“It was better in the closing stages, but we had to rest players like Chiesa and Pogba. I saw improvements from Pogba, but he’s still a long way behind schedule and not in condition to play 90 minutes. We’ll try to slowly get him up to 30 minutes and see how he responds.
“All we can do now is stay quiet, work hard and drag out the last drops of energy to get past Sporting.”
Young midfielder Nicolo Fagioli burst into tears after his substitution as it was his error that allowed Defrel to put the hosts ahead.
“Everyone makes mistakes, it was an error, but he is not responsible for the defeat. The whole team didn’t play up to the right standard.”
Allegri insists on talking about the upcoming 15-point deduction ruling as if it were a foregone conclusion that the Bianconeri would be getting the points back.
“I told the lads this was an important step for our table, we had to get the Milanese clubs nine and 11 points behind us. Instead, we dropped points. As I always say, there are some games Juventus must not just play, they must win.”