Massimiliano Allegri sought to play down the perfect start to the season enjoyed by his Juventus team after a 3-1 win over Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday, insisting expectations are “damaging”.
An early brace from Gonzalo Higuain on his first Juve start put the defending champions on track for a straightforward home victory, with Miralem Pjanic also on target before Luca Antei replied for the visitors.
Juventus have won all three of their opening Serie A fixtures, but Allegri moved to play down the expectations placed on his side ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie at home to Sevilla.
“For 27 minutes the team played very well, even if early on we allowed Matteo Politano a shot on goal, which made us realise we needed to defend more carefully,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
“As we were 3-0 up, I think we all should’ve defended better, as the game could’ve lasted 45 minutes and instead it was in the balance for 96 minutes. Paulo Dybala had a good game and was improving at the end of the second half.
“The fact we hear every day that Juventus are super strong and will no doubt win the Scudetto, Champions League and any other trophy is damaging. It makes us lose sight of the reality of these situations.”
Set-pieces again prevented Juventus from keeping a clean sheet as Antei took advantage of sloppy defending to score Sassuolo’s goal and Allegri accepted his team have work to do in that department.
“We conceded two goals from corners this season already and that is too many,” said Allegri.
“There are moments in the game when we are in our own half and must defend well, without letting the opposition get away from us.
“We all have to work hard and cannot just take it for granted that the three at the back will take care of things.”
Higuain continued his fine start to life in Turin with a double, taking him to three goals in three appearances for the club, with the Argentine striker hot favourite to be the league’s top scorer again, but Allegri is focused on the success of his team.
“The important thing is that Juventus win the Scudetto,” Allegri said.
“Because over the last three years the Capocannoniere [top scorer] hasn’t won the Scudetto.”