Juventus got two goals but wasted a handful of other chances to beat Serie A bottom side Empoli 2-0. Club captain Danilo and Federico Chiesa got the goals though Dusan Vlahovic saw a penalty attempt saved and the Bianconeri hit the woodwork a couple of times as well.
Speaking after the game, the first question coach Massimiliano Allegri was asked was about Paul Pogba who looked uncomfortable after making his now regular substitute appearance.
“We don’t know anything yet, he felt a twinge at the back [of his thigh], so we’ll see what the tests say. He came on and showed quality for half an hour.”
His thoughts on the game his side played?
“It was a good performance against an Empoli side that is not easy to play against. We allowed practically nothing at the back, but need to be calmer in the final third or with the final ball, as we were a bit too frenetic. These are things we will improve as time goes on.”
Allegri made some changes to his starting lineup, giving Filip Kostic and Weston McKennie the starts at wingback.
“Weah was a little tired, while he was also coming into a far more tactical league than he is accustomed to, so I felt he needed a bit of rest. I also wanted to have someone who could come off the bench and change the game.
“Kostic played well, Filip is a solid player, even if he didn’t play in the first two games.”
The combination upfront of Vlahovic and Chiesa hasn’t quite gelled as yet.
“Their rapport is growing, I am happy that Federico scored and sad that Vlahovic didn’t convert the penalty. However, I thought this was a better performance from Vlahovic than last time when he did score. We need everyone and must keep the tempo as high as possible to cause problems for the opposition.
“The midfielders and forwards are also working on getting to know each other better. When you play against a high defence like Empoli, you need to pick the right timing for the passes and make them precise.
“Locatelli did very well today. Miretti plays well between the lines, but must improve in passing the ball quickly and going for goal more often. We are working towards reaching full fitness from October and November so that we can start really pushing hard.”
The media look like they’re constantly trying to get a soundbite from Allegri about whether he thinks Juve can be title contenders this season.
“Nobody likes being outside of the Champions League. We finished third in the table, so it’s easy to say that Juve failed last season, but without the points penalty we were third. There are teams out there better equipped to win the Scudetto, such as Inter, Napoli and Milan. We must do well to stay as close to them as possible and finish in the top four.
“Things might happen and we find ourselves in the Scudetto race, but you cannot say we are among the favourites.”
The coach was taken to task for his comment that ‘football is a very simple game,’ with especially his counterpart Luciano Spalletti saying that the game is anything but simple.
“The intelligence of a coach is to understand the players at his disposal. You cannot try to use a gun against a tank, you need to find a different strategy.
“This season we have players who don’t have as much experience, but they do have legs. As Ariedo Braida used to say, it is not an obligation to run in football, but it helps. I don’t want to say it’s very simple, because I know people don’t like that, but I will say the simplest things on paper are usually the most difficult.”