Allegri calls for patience: It has not been an 'easy time' for Juventus

By Sports Desk November 30, 2021

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri admits this season has not been an "easy time" for his side but that Tuesday's 2-0 win over Salernitana was about re-paying the club.

Allegri conceded the Bianconeri were out of the title race after Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Atalanta, with Juventus sitting well off the pace.

Juve claimed their seventh league win of the season at Salernitana to move up to seventh spot with 24 points from 15 games.

“It hasn’t been an easy time, we lost to Atalanta and could’ve scored more goals this evening," Allegri told reporters after the Salernitana win.

"I said Juventus have given us so much and it is time we have a sense of responsibility and give back to this club. We need to focus, because we’ve failed too many times against the smaller clubs this season.

"I told the lads, we had a lot of young players on the field today, so in these moments, they can suffer under the pressure. Fortunately, they held out well."

"We’re trailing in the league at the moment because we dropped points too many times. These players have talent, but let’s not forget that only with experience, by making mistakes and learning from them, understanding when it’s time to attack or defend, that is how they develop.

"The best thing at these moments is to simplify. We tried the passing moves in training yesterday and today I focused more on the mentality. The words Chiellini said are what I said to the team. We are the ones who now must give back to Juventus, the players, coach, the fans, everyone."

Allegri, who returned to the Turin job in May after Andrea Pirlo was dismissed following a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, called for patience.

“Naturally, we’re going to have ups and downs. I am still getting to know the players, they are getting to know me, and we play every three days," Allegri said.

"We achieved the first target by progressing in the Champions League, now we should have a little more time to work in training.

“Things change, people come and go, but Juventus remain and will always remain. Life goes in cycles, it has to be accepted as a challenge. I accepted this challenge knowing it was difficult, because it’s impossible to win more than nine years in a row, surely?

"Now we must have the responsibility of being at Juventus and the ambition to aim as high as possible."

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    Massimiliano Allegri shut down talk of a Scudetto challenge as his improving Juventus prepare to face Milan at San Siro on Sunday.

    The Bianconeri are on an eight-match unbeaten run in Serie A, their longest such streak since December 2020.

    Having lost three times in six matches in a tough spell in October and November, Juve have won six and drawn two to close back to within a point of the top four, with Milan seven points ahead in second and champions Inter a further two clear at the top of the table.

    Allegri, though, is not prepared to look beyond the challenge of facing the Rossoneri, who have lost only once in the past four league meetings with Juve, having been beaten in 14 of the previous 17.

    "We're experiencing a good moment, but the path is still long because there are so many games left, and we're behind in the table," he told reporters on Saturday.

    "Tomorrow is a great game to play. I'm sorry there are only 5,000 spectators; it would be nice to play these great events with full stadiums. It's an important match for the standings and we need to do well.

    "We can't get too far ahead with things. We face Milan now, who have done a great job in the past year and a half. Congratulations to Stefano [Pioli], who has done an excellent job.

    "We have to play an important game to keep close, to get to the end of February in the best condition in the table. We can't think too far ahead at this moment, or talk about the Scudetto."

    Allegri delivered Milan their most recent league title back in 2011, after which they could only watch on as Juve embarked on a run of nine consecutive Scudetti before their run was halted by Inter last season.

    Pioli's arrival has signalled a shift in the balance of power, though. Milan were second in 2020-21, a point above Juve in fourth, and are the obvious challengers to Simone Inzaghi's Inter this term.

     

    Indeed, since the start of 2020-21, the Nerazzurri are the only side to have won more games (43) and earned more points (141) than Milan (39 wins and 127 points). In a league table of that time frame, Juve would be fifth.

    Allegri suggested Juve are taking some inspiration from Milan's modern model as they look to move into a new era.

    "Milan worked well, they did things in an orderly way and they chose good players. They're fighting for the title," Allegri said.

    "Juve had nine wonderful years and won two trophies last season. This year, without [Cristiano] Ronaldo, there is more space for other players. We've played games with six players between the ages of 20 and 23.

    "Young players give you strength, but they lack experience. You can only improve by playing matches."

    The future of Paulo Dybala remains unclear but the Argentina star has history against Milan, with seven goals and five assists in 12 league games against them.

    While he did not comment on contract talks with Dybala, Allegri certainly believes the forward is improving.

    "Paulo is better physically. He's growing, he is very calm and this helps him because he can play more freely," he said.

    "I would say he has less responsibility on his shoulders and I'm happy with what he's doing. He will give us a lot between now and the end of the season."

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    Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign Dortmund's Haaland, according to ESPN.

    The Red Devils will focus on alternative attacking options with uncertainty around Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo's futures at the club while Haaland is favouring a move to Real Madrid.

    United have had a long-standing interest in the Norwegian, who has a €75 million (£62m) release clause on his Dortmund contract.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Manchester City are closing in on a deal for River Plate's 21-year-old Argentina international Julian Alvarez, claims The Telegraph. As part of the imminent deal, Alvarez – who has interest from Milan, Inter and Juventus – will remain with River until June. The fee is expected to be no less than £20m.

    - Liverpool have joined the race to sign Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria, according to ESPN. The Reds will rival Dortmund and Bayern Munich who are both keen on the Swiss midfielder.

    - Ajax's Mexico international Edson Alvarez is attracting interest from Premier League trio Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace, reports Football Insider.

    - Leeds United have opened contract talks with Brazilian superstar Raphinha,  according to the Daily Star, amid interest from Chelsea and Liverpool .

    - French club Nice are set to offer Tottenham's Bryan Gil a loan deal, according to L'Equipe. The Spaniard has struggled for impact since his move to England.

    - Diario AS claims that Valencia are working on a January deal for Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez .

  • Tuchel does not rule out January additions for Chelsea Tuchel does not rule out January additions for Chelsea

    Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has not ruled out making a signing in the remainder of the January transfer window, but stopped short of making any guarantees.

    The Blues have seen their title charge come to a grinding halt in recent games, having not won any of their last four Premier League outings and only claiming victory twice from their last nine.

    They now sit 12 points behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more, and a point behind second-placed Liverpool having played two games more.

    When asked at a news conference ahead of Sunday's game against Tottenham whether any January additions are likely, Tuchel replied: "I cannot say no to it. Also, I am not convinced it is a clear yes. Let's wait and see."

    The game with Spurs at Stamford Bridge will be Chelsea's 16th since the start of December, and Tuchel believes that the hectic schedule coupled with injuries has played a significant part in his team's drop in form.

    "The schedule that we had in particular was a bit too much," he said. "At the same time we struggled with injuries, first in midfield then in the second period it was strikers and now it's suddenly all defenders who are out. Yeah, it's a bit awkward.

    "We struggled to deal with it and find the same rhythm, find the same consistency in our results... but still the way we played and approached the games was always okay."

    Following a 1-0 defeat at Manchester City last weekend and a 1-1 draw at Brighton on Tuesday, the former Borussia Dortmund coach gave his players two days off in preparation for the Spurs game, and confessed that he spent his time at the dentist.

    "You really disconnect at the dentist," he said. "It is hard to think about football when you are in the dentist chair.

    "We needed [a break]. And I meant all of us. This is a team effort and I felt that the team was mentally tired, which I could understand. I felt them disappointed and frustrated after the result at City and it was harder for us to overcome the obstacles that for us are normal to overcome.

    "There are reasons for it. Reasons that we talked about, reasons for which we cannot be blamed.

    "I know it is always like this and we don’t want to make excuses, but we want to be adult enough and honest enough to look at the reasons why we feel this kind of fatigue."

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