Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has called for patience with his side struggling to match their usual lofty standards so far this season.
The five-time defending Serie A champions top the league once again ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chievo, but they lost their last away game to AC Milan and a draw against Lyon in midweek lost top spot in their Champions League group.
However, Allegri says he is yet to find the perfect formula after a pre-season of widespread changes, which saw the departures of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata offset by Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic and more arriving in Turin.
“Juventus are on a positive journey,” he told a news conference. “We are first in Serie A and have a good chance of topping the Champions League group too. We must improve, but that’s natural when we changed so much over the summer.
“At the end of the day we’ll be judged on our results and not what we say. In the long run, seasons are all the same. In March we have to be ready and it won’t be easy to win the Scudetto again either. Criticism is good for us, so we welcome it.
“Don’t forget this time last year nobody expected Juve to play Bayern Munich the way we did, on level terms. My objective is to reach March and a Champions League round of 16 tie.
“The first season we lost two games in the group and then reached the final. Let’s all just stay calm.”
Winless in four games, Chievo sit 11th in Serie A, but Allegri is wary of a side still smarting from becoming the first side to lose in Serie A to Crotone last week.
“On paper this is the toughest test in terms of motivation, because Chievo are coming off a defeat to Crotone and will therefore be determined to make up for that,” Allegri said.
“Chievo are well-organised with a good coach and some great players. They have beaten Inter here and tend to play well on home turf. We’ve got to match them in terms of work-rate.
“Aside from Giorgio Chiellini, Paulo Dybala and Marko Pjaca, we’ve got everyone in the squad. Leonardo Bonucci is called up, but I will evaluate whether or not to use him. The same goes for Claudio Marchisio and Miralem Pjanic.”