Juventus have to learn 'to play ugly' – Allegri

By Sports Desk December 11, 2021

Massimiliano Allegri has urged Juventus to "play ugly" after his side dropped two points in Saturday's 1-1 Serie A draw with Venezia.

Juve had won three successive matches in all competitions without conceding ahead their trip to Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, where they opened the scoring through Alvaro Morata.

However, the Bianconeri wasted a good chance to double their lead through Juan Cuadrado before half-time and were made to pay 10 minutes into the second period.

Former Torino man Mattia Aramu guided a first-time shot past Wojciech Szczesny from range and Juve, who lost Paulo Dybala to an early injury, failed to muster a response.

The visitors finished with an expected goals (xG) return of 2.13 compared to Venezia's 0.54, but Juve were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

Juve are now six points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta, who face Hellas Verona on Sunday, and Allegri admitted his side need to improve in certain areas after their latest setback.

"It was a good first half, but then we had a 10- or 15-minute blackout before the Venezia goal," he told DAZN. 

"The same thing happened against Salernitana recently – we were lucky then not to concede as they hit the post – so it's something we clearly need to work on.

"We were under pressure, couldn't play the ball to feet anymore, so we should've had patience with one or two balls over the top to the strikers, but we didn't do that.

"We had to attack the space, force them into fouls and more yellow cards, but we threw away two points against a good Venezia side.

"At the start of the second half we were wandering about, giving the ball straight back. Sometimes we don't realise the game is getting 'ugly' and we don't read the moment. 

"Once that moment passed, we started playing again and pinned Venezia back into their own half, but the damage was done."

 

Allegri added: "We have players without a great deal of experience. The whole team was a bit sluggish after the restart.

"We can't seem to realise when it's the time to play pretty and those 10, 15 minutes we ought to play ugly, grit our teeth and push through."

Dybala hobbled off against Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday and lasted just 12 minutes before being replaced against Venezia.

"We ran a risk, and it went badly," Allegri said. "He went off on Wednesday with a muscular issue; we hoped he was better now, but that was not the case."

Juventus, who had won 15 of their previous 17 league meetings with Venezia, could find themselves nine points off the Champions League places come the end of the weekend.

"We mustn't think about that," the coach said. "We threw away two points today, two points we should've brought home."

Related items

  • Pochettino '100 per cent' at PSG, expects to be 'judged by work', not Mbappe relationship Pochettino '100 per cent' at PSG, expects to be 'judged by work', not Mbappe relationship

    Mauricio Pochettino is "100 per cent" committed to Paris Saint-Germain and does not believe his future at the club will be decided by his relationship with Kylian Mbappe.

    Both Pochettino and Mbappe have been the subject of speculation for much of this season.

    But while the superstar forward has signed a new contract in Paris, snubbing Real Madrid, it is unclear how that development impacts his coach.

    Pressure has been building on Pochettino since PSG again failed to win the Champions League, losing to Madrid in the last 16 despite Mbappe scoring in both legs.

    Given reports suggest Mbappe has been given a significant say in the running of the club as part of his new deal, it would appear crucial Pochettino keeps the World Cup winner onside.

    But in an interview with COPE, the former Tottenham boss seemed confident he would be given the opportunity to prove his worth at the Parc des Princes regardless.

    "I have said I am 100 per cent here. Today I tell you I am 100 per cent here," Pochettino said.

    "I have one more year of contract. The challenges are there and it motivates any coach.

    "I don't think [the relationship with Mbappe is decisive]. I will be judged by the work. We have won all the titles that previous coaches have won. That is earned regularly, and you have to give it value. This league is not easy."

    Asked if he wanted to keep his job, Pochettino added: "Of course, 100 per cent. It's a club that has ambition. The big disappointment is the Champions League because of the desire of the people."

  • Mbappe war of words wages on with UNFP blasting 'offensive, hateful' Tebas comments Mbappe war of words wages on with UNFP blasting 'offensive, hateful' Tebas comments

    Kylian Mbappe remains at the centre of a disagreement between French and Spanish footballing bodies after snubbing Real Madrid to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

    Mbappe, long linked with Madrid, announced last week he would be signing a new contract in Paris rather than joining the Champions League finalists as a free agent.

    LaLiga chief Javier Tebas swiftly responded to the news by claiming it to be "an insult to football".

    Those comments have unsurprisingly prompted replies from France, firstly from LFP president Vincent Labrune, whose letter to Tebas was reported on Thursday.

    Labrune questioned "your latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs", believing his counterpart's behaviour to be "completely inappropriate".

    And that is a view shared by the UNFP, the French players' union, which released a statement also directed at Tebas later on Thursday.

    "We can hear and understand the disappointment of people from Madrid and their compatriots, even knowing, especially in the world of football, that you don't win every time and that it is possible to say 'no' to Real Madrid, even for a third time," said the body on its website.

    "But demonstrating to the point of incomprehension does not justify disrespecting the player, his club and all of French football in this way, unless we call into question the freedom for a footballer to sign a contract with the club of his choice?

    "The arrogance of the remarks made is shocking and there is no need here to reply to our Spanish friends that they have hardly any lessons to give to French football in terms of financial management, protectionism and equality...

    "Once again, the most enraged is Javier Tebas who, when it comes to PSG, forgets to turn his tongue in his mouth seven times before speaking.

    "And his offensive, hateful remarks, without restraint or foundation, bring shame and discredit to him, especially with regard to his position.

    "In the heart of the 70s, Jeannette sang 'Porque te vas?' ['Why must you leave?']. But Kylian Mbappe will not leave, no offence to the president of the Spanish league...

    "So 'Porque Tebas?' asks the UNFP..."

  • French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar

    Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

    Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

    Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

    Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

    "It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

    "He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

    Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

    "I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

    "Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

    Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.