Saturday, September 25, 2021

Allegri adamant winless start will make Juventus stronger

SoccerNews in Serie A 11 Sep 2021

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Massimiliano Allegri has full faith in his Juventus squad turning around their campaign and challenging for the Serie A title after falling to a 2-1 loss at Napoli.

Juve’s slow start to Allegri’s second spell in charge continued on Saturday as second-half goals from Matteo Politano and Kalidou Koulibaly earned Napoli a comeback win.

The Bianconeri, who led through Alvaro Morata’s 10th-minute strike, have now failed to win any of their first three league games for just the second time in 52 Serie A seasons.

Saturday’s late loss also means Allegri has failed to win any of his past eight league games in charge of Juve either side of a two-year sabbatical.

After collecting just one point from their first three matches of the 2021-22 campaign, six-time Scudetto winner Allegri is adamant that his side will grow stronger.

“I have ample trust in this group. I know they will make up the lost ground,” he said. “This group is destined to grow thanks to the blows taken.

“This evening’s defeat was different and we must quickly put it behind us.”

After profiting from a Kostas Manolas error to take the lead in Naples, Juve themselves gifted their opponents – who now have three wins from three – a couple of goals.

Wojciech Szczesny parried Lorenzo Insigne’s shot into the path of Politano for Napoli’s leveller and could only push a poor Moise Kean header straight to Koulibaly for the late winner.

It is the first time since March 2010 that Napoli have recovered from a losing position to beat Juventus in the league and Allegri accepts his side were not good enough.

“I liked the attitude of the team in the first half, but in the second half Napoli got the upper hand. Sometimes you are made to pay for individual mistakes,” he said.

“Szczesny does not lack calmness. He made a mistake with his handling today, but he will be in the team on Tuesday.

“As for Kean, these things happen in football sometimes. We also conceded similar goals to Udinese and Empoli

“From a technical point of view, we could have done better. We haven’t won yet, but now we start thinking about our next match in the Champions League.”

That European tie with Malmo on Tuesday is followed five days later by a huge clash with Allegri’s former side Milan at the Allianz Stadium.

“We know that we need to be more lucid near the area, though the team did what I asked of them today from a tactical point of view against a good Napoli side,” Allegri added.

“In football there is no room for mistakes. We have an important test ahead of us that we must overcome in order for it not to become a mental thing.”

Juve, who were missing some key players on Saturday, managed just eight shots in total against Napoli and none at all on target in the second half.

That makes it back-to-back blanks for the Bianconeri since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club to rejoin Manchester United, but Allegri reiterated he is eager to move on from that high-profile exit.

“Ronaldo is part of the past, he made a choice,” Allegri said. “Now he’s gone. Juve let him go because you can’t keep a player against your will.”

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