Juventus will feel they have missed a huge opportunity to open up a four-point lead on Inter Milan who now have two games in hand to make up a two point deficit. The Bianconeri were only able to muster a 1-1 home draw against 19th-placed Empoli after going down to ten men with just a quarter of an hour played following a rash challenge from Arkadiusz Milik.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri refused to get too low on his side’s prospects.
“My sensation is that the team played well, we were down to 10 men after basically 15 minutes and still tried to win the game. We had some good chances, including one where Cambiaso slipped clear on goal.
“This is football, it’s disappointing, but the red card rather complicated our plans and Empoli made it complicated already.”
The Polish striker had made a poor challenge after failing to control the ball well but as he usually does, Allegri refused to blame Milik who apologized to the Bianconeri faithful at full time.
“These things happen in football, it was a pity to go down to 10 men. Milik had been doing well in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, the idea was to use his physicality on the crosses against a closed-down Empoli.
“That was not what happened, but it went well anyway, because we continue the unbeaten run and it would’ve been far more painful for us to lose at home than draw.”
Milik will now miss next week’s crucial game away at Inter, though there is a chance Federico Chiesa and Adrien Rabiot could return.
“Chiesa and Rabiot are doing better, they should be available next week, but it’s not about the Inter game. We have to reach the end of May in the top four.
“Nobody expected us to be in this position at the start of the season and a draw should not cause us to drop our heads or lose confidence. You cannot win every game.”
Teenage star in the making Kenan Yildiz was immediately impactful after coming on late, why was he not introduced earlier.
“He could’ve come on earlier and then we might’ve lost, then who would you blame? You cannot build houses on what ifs. Getting a point today was very important.”
What is he looking forward to the most in next week’s game?
“The Derby d’Italia is always marvellous to participate in, the stadium will be packed and we will go there trying to get a result against what is I repeat the best team in Italy and the clear favourites to win the Scudetto.”
“In football, you have to take it one game at a time. Everyone thought Juventus would easily beat Empoli today, but that didn’t happen. The unknown is always round the corner and you must be ready for anything.
“It is the first time this season we were down to 10 men and we had to deal with that.”
Word has it that Inter’s top brass have been quite irrtated by Allegri’s off-handed comments about the Scudetto race.
“I understand my Livorno sense of humour irritates some people. It’s fortunate they don’t come to Livorno, because it’s our normal way of doing things that we make fun of each other. I am sorry if I hurt someone’s sensibility.”
Juve’s goal came from Dusan Vlahovic, who has been playing like a man possessed.
“He is a player who is growing, in good shape physically and no longer has that lumbago issue, which is fundamental. He has gained confidence, is more balanced and no longer wastes energy getting angry during a game, so he has to keep going like that.”