Just when you thought Juventus have turned a corner and are morphing into something else, they go ahead and put in a distracted performance that saw them soundly spanked 4-2 away at Sassuolo despite having leveled with about a dozen minutes left to play.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri attempted to put on a brave face.
“Let’s talk about the game. It was the first defeat, we must learn from it. We were not phenomenal before this game, just as we are not awful after it.
“We had our heads in the clouds with the butterflies, it had started well and there were some fairly simple situations we didn’t make the most of. We conceded at their first attempt and rather lost our heads, so we paid for that.”
In a week where European action kicked off and the Bianconeri sat at home and watched proceedings on their televisions, it looks like the players had something else on their minds.
“I’ve had a few games in my career, I know the strengths and weaknesses of Serie A teams. This was just the final chapter, I already had warning signs over the last few days that we tried to attenuate.
“Now we mustn’t get downhearted, there is an important match coming up and we must try to get three points.”
There is something to be said about the utter lack of consistency in lineups that Allegri has had to deal with since starting his second sting in charge. Today was the first time he was able to field the same starting lineup for two consecutive games in an incredible 112 game stretch, but it looked like the players expended their energy in that excellent win against Lazio last weekend.
“This was a match where we were lacking in terms of mentality. We are still not able to switch during the game, to stay in it at every moment. I already had the sensation that we were panicking a little whenever the ball was put into the box, which had not happened against Lazio or the other games, so that had me on alert.”
Striker Dusan Vlahovic came off with about a quarter of an hour to play and looked quite displeased, though there was an awkward embrace with Allegri when he left for Moise Kean.
“He needs to improve, he didn’t make the most of a few chances, but he also struggled with his fitness over the last few days. It was not a great performance from the whole team, it was very unbalanced and turned into an end to end match, in which anything can happen.”