Juventus finally returned to winning ways in the league with a 2-1 win at home over Lecce that sees them vault ahead of Lazio into second place, pending the result of the Roman’s game against Sassuolo.
Speaking after goals from Lenadro Paredes and Dusan Vlahovic had secured the three points, coach Massimiliano Allegri started off with an injury update on Mattia De Sciglio who left the game after about half an hour.
“Unfortunately, Mattia has a lesion to the cruciate ligament. He was in good shape, playing well, he will have the time to recover and get back to playing.”
During the game itself, Allegri was at his furious best stomping up and down the touchline as Juve threatened to throw the advantage away late on by failing to score the killer goal, and were under siege towards the end of the game as the visitors searched desperately for the equalizer.
“In these games, you need to finish the job. You have to score more goals, we had numerous chances and often got the wrong pass wrong. Lecce are a tough side to play against, they have caused problems for a lot of opponents and we risked conceding an equaliser. We allowed too much in defence, even from non-existent situations, and we have to improve.
“We keep wasting chances, we did the same with Sassuolo last week, and we have to do better because anything can happen on a set play and you concede out of nowhere.”
Vlahovic’s goal drought had gone on for an interminable period despite Allegri’s vocal support for the Serbian international.
“He scored an extraordinary goal and I think improved as the game went on, running into space, in duels with close marking. Unfortunately, he had never experienced this sort of thing, as he came from Fiorentina where everything went well for him, but every player has a period like this in their careers. He just needed to stay calm and get through it. I hope it can be a starting point for him and for Juventus.”
Midfielder Paredes has often come in for criticism, but opened the scoring for the Bianconeri today.
“Paredes was more balanced in his positioning than before, when he used to wander around the pitch too much. It was a deserved victory against a very good Lecce.
“We had almost forgotten how to celebrate a victory, as it had been a month since we’d won a game!”
Paul Pogba was a second half substitute and did well holding up the ball.
“For the first time, I saw Paul look confident and in good shape. I’d have wanted him like that from the start of the season, it has been a cursed campaign for him. He is not in a condition to play 90 minutes and he knows it, but it doesn’t matter if he plays 60 minutes or 30, the important thing is that he comes on with the attitude he had today and is decisive.”
Is Allegri still confident of a Champions League berth at the end of the season?
“It doesn’t matter if we are against Atalanta, Milan, Lecce or Cremonese, the important thing is to get a certain number of points. I think if you don’t get 72 or 73 points, you are unlikely to finish in the top four. This weekend will have some important head-to-head clashes, so on Sunday evening I think we’ll know what points tally is needed for the Champions League.”