Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri criticised Paul Pogba for a lack of focus despite seeing his side restore their three-point lead at the top of Serie A with a 2-0 win at Atalanta.
Andrea Barzagli and substitute Mario Lemina were on target as Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon kept an eighth successive clean sheet, but Allegri was far from satisfied.
Pogba particularly drew the ire of his coach after collecting a booking, which Allegri suggested had affected the France international’s game.
Allegri told Sky Sport Italia: “Paul Pogba is a player who can make the difference if he plays it simple and is focused.
“He got booked and let that affect him, so he lost his way in the second half and basically stopped playing.
“It’s one less game, one less win we need to achieve. It was a good first half, we made some mistakes in our passing choices after the break and in the last half-hour should’ve done better.
“The approach to the game was good, we could’ve scored more than one early on and moved the ball around well.
“Once we stopped playing, they started whipping in crosses and we naturally suffered a bit.”
Allegri picked out Barzagli for praise after the defender struck his first Serie A goal in nearly four years to give Juventus the lead.
“I am happy for Andrea, as he’s the one who usually stays back to protect when the others go up for a corner or free-kick,” Allegri said.
“Usually big clubs have great players who can score a goal out of nowhere and break the deadlock.
“This season we have three more points than Napoli, but they scored 10 goals more than we did, so defence is especially important.
“Let’s say this is a different Juve to last season. There are 10 new players who have different experiences.
“The young lads have improved and we are gaining in our authority when dealing with various moments of the game, as we did today.
“[Mario] Mandzukic is generous and works for the team. He is the player we needed, as he has a strong personality and also different characteristics to replace Carlos Tevez.”
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