Allegri adamant winless start will make Juventus stronger

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

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."

Related items

  • Dortmund sack coach Rose after single season Dortmund sack coach Rose after single season

    Marco Rose has been dismissed as Borussia Dortmund coach following "intensive analysis" of his single season in charge of the Bundesliga club.

    Rose left Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the 2020-21 campaign to take up his role at Dortmund.

    Yet he has lasted only 12 months at Signal Iduna Park despite finishing the season as Bayern Munich's nearest challengers in the Bundesliga.

    BVB were eight points off the pace in second, with any hopes of a dramatic title chase ended by their 3-1 defeat at Bayern in April.

    It is now 10 years since Dortmund last won the championship under Jurgen Klopp, while Rose also failed to deliver success in cup competitions.

    Dortmund finished the season without a trophy and endured a dismal European campaign.

    Rose's side could not advance from a seemingly kind Champions League group, losing 4-0 away to Ajax before dropping into the Europa League and suffering further humiliation.

    Eventual finalists Rangers won 4-2 in Dortmund en route to a 6-4 aggregate success.

    Rose was without talismanic forward Erling Haaland for that tie, although the next BVB coach will also have to come to terms with his imminent departure for Manchester City.

    Dortmund have at least made positive early transfer moves in terms of incomings, securely deals for Germany internationals Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck and Karim Adeyemi.

    Rose's exit was confirmed in a short statement on Twitter on Friday, which read: "BVB and coach Marco Rose end their relationship.

    "Following an intensive season analysis on Thursday, including Rose, [CEO Hans-Joachim] Watzke, [departing sporting director Michael] Zorc, [incoming sporting director Sebastian] Kehl and [consultant Matthias] Sammer, the club has decided to move forward and wishes Marco Rose the best of luck in his next opportunity."

  • Koulibaly 'can't be forced' to stay at Napoli amid Barcelona links, insists club president Koulibaly 'can't be forced' to stay at Napoli amid Barcelona links, insists club president

    Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly will not be forced to stay at the club amid reports linking him with Barcelona, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

    Koulibaly's contract with Luciano Spalletti's men is due to expire in June 2023, and the Blaugrana have been touted as a potential destination if he decides to end his eight-year spell with the Partenopei.

    The 30-year-old has been a key figure as Napoli secured a third-place finish in Serie A this season, and they go into their final game of the campaign, against Spezia on Sunday, having conceded the joint-fewest goals in the league (31 – along with Milan) and kept the second-most clean sheets (15, Milan have kept 17).

    Koulibaly fuelled speculation over his future earlier this week when he told Onze Mondial: "We'll see what happens at the end of the season."

    The Senegal international did say he would not force a move to another club, though he did suggest Napoli had ended previous negotiations over a transfer by setting a high asking price, adding: "Sometimes it was too high for some clubs, and it blocked negotiations. 

    "You should know that I am not a guy who likes to go to clash to get something. If I have to leave one day, I will leave cleanly rather than fight with the club." 

    Speaking at a charity event in Naples, De Laurentiis said he remains keen to keep Koulibaly, but would not force the defender to stay.

    "He is a symbol of Napoli, and if he wants to no longer be a symbol, he must decide," De Laurentiis said.

    "We must decide. We want Koulibaly to stay, but people can't be forced to. Everyone has their own dignity and needs. 

    "We respect everyone, do you understand that I [only once] forced someone to stay? The only one, who is a dear friend, is [former Napoli head coach] Walter Mazzarri, after two years he told me he wanted to leave, I told him he would stay. He did it and he gave us four years of satisfaction."

    Koulibaly has featured in 26 league games for Napoli this season, with Spalletti's men conceding just 19 goals across those contests.

  • Barcelona-linked Miedema signs new Arsenal contract Barcelona-linked Miedema signs new Arsenal contract

    Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema has ended speculation over her future by signing a new deal with the Women's Super League club.

    Miedema's previous deal was due to expire next month, and she had been linked with a move to Barcelona or a team in the United States.

    However, the Netherlands international – who has scored 117 goals in 144 games since signing for Arsenal from Bayern Munich in 2017 – has agreed to stay on in north London.

    The Gunners confirmed the news on their official website on Friday, although no details were given regarding the length of the contract.

    "I think the best thing about football is to build something with a team and people around you that you really want to belong to," Miedema said.

    "I feel like I have that at Arsenal. I feel that winning titles with Arsenal will mean a lot more to me than winning them with any other club right now.

    "And that, of course, is what I hope to achieve with Arsenal."

    Miedema is the WSL's record scorer with 74 goals to her name in the competition, and she won the Golden Boot in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

    The 25-year-old scored 23 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions this season, with Arsenal finishing runners-up to Chelsea in the league.

    Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall, who signed a new two-year deal two weeks ago, said: "Viv is a stellar talent and a hugely important player for this team.

    "It's fantastic news that she is staying with us. As a club, our ambition is to win titles and compete at the highest level.

    "We know Viv's own ambitions are the same, and together we will give everything to achieve that."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.