Paulo Dybala says he has recovered from a “rough time” after his starring performance helped Juventus into the Coppa Italia quarter-finals against Atalanta.
Dybala scored one and set up another as Juventus won a thrilling last-16 tie 3-2 in Turin on Wednesday.
That display came after the forward had netted in the 3-0 Serie A victory over Bologna in Juve’s first game since the mid-season break.
A mixed first half of the season culminated in a poor outing and a penalty shoot-out miss in the Supercoppa Italiana defeat to AC Milan in the last match of 2016, but Dybala thinks he has emerged from that period.
“I had a bit of a rough time over the break,” Dybala told Rai Sport.
“I had never missed a penalty with Juventus before, but now I feel better.
“I am training well during the week and I think it shows during the match. I managed to score and set up Mario Mandzukic as well so I’m really happy with my performance.
“I am only 23, so I need to improve in so many areas, such as my physical strength and my right foot. I am enjoying the role of a trequartista. [Massimiliano] Allegri is giving me a lot of space and I can express myself well there.”
Dybala and Mandzukic had Allegri’s men two goals up at half-time, but Atalanta made a game of it after the break with goals either side of Miralem Pjanic’s penalty.
“We are glad to have gone through against a team that play really good football,” added Dybala.
“Atalanta are having an excellent season, but we fell away towards the end of the game and we can’t let that happen.
“We must not drop the tempo after we score, which is what happened when we scored our third.
“We have to keep the ball and see out the match because, as we saw, there is always a risk the other side can come back.”
Dybala has signalled his commitment to sign a new contract with Juve, despite being linked with moves to Barcelona and Real Madrid.
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