Massimiliano Allegri has reiterated his belief that Juventus cannot be expected to challenge for the Serie A title this season, insisting a sense of realism is required.

On the back of a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League, Juve slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday.

Paulo Dybala hit the crossbar late on, but Duvan Zapata's strike proved decisive for Atalanta, who won a league game at Juve for the first time since October 1989.

The defeat leaves Juve eighth, and they could be 14 points adrift of leaders Napoli and second-placed Milan by the time the weekend is up.

It marked a third home loss of the campaign for Juve, matching the total number of defeats at the Allianz Stadium across the entirety of 2020-21.

Juve are also seven points off the top four, and Allegri – perhaps risking the ire of the Bianconeri faithful – has claimed a Champions League qualification push is the best the 36-time champions can hope for.

Allegri told DAZN: "I think it's a very good squad, [although] there are moments when we struggle to score goals.

"But people said at the start that this was the strongest squad that simply had to win the Scudetto, and I always noted that was inaccurate.

"We are here to challenge for the top four. I cannot complain to my players after this performance; I can only congratulate their efforts, then the rest is down to those of you who talk for a living.

 

"I think we must be realistic. If we are in this position after 14 games, it means this is what we are worth right now. There's a long way to go, but in terms of performance, I only saw us get it really wrong against Verona, Sassuolo and Empoli.

"Once we are realistic, we can take the pressure off and work better in a calmer environment. All we can do is try to get the best out of ourselves.

"We are Juventus and people seem to think that means we must automatically be Scudetto favourites. What we need to do is keep working, try to calm down and score some more goals. At this moment, we are struggling to score and, in my view, it's because we have lost that sense of calm and confidence.

"There's no point thinking of ifs and buts. We have to start from scratch, put everything behind us and be prepared to fight it out on level terms with Salernitana [on Tuesday], then add our quality on top."

Juve had 15 attempts against Atalanta, but only two hit the target. Besides Dybala's late free-kick, visiting goalkeeper Juan Musso was not truly troubled.

"We don't make the most of the chances we create. Atalanta had only one shot on goal from our error, and it's the goal that counts," Allegri said.

"There is some anxiety, the players are hasty and rush things, but we must keep working on the performances and try to win games to get that confidence and calm back."

Massimiliano Allegri called for calm and patience after Juventus' mixed start to the Serie A campaign ahead of their clash with Atalanta.

The Bianconeri, who were thrashed 4-0 by Chelsea in midweek Champions League action, sit eighth in the league, 11 points adrift of early leaders Napoli and Milan.

Juve have also lost two of their first six home Serie A games for the first time since 1980-81.

However, over the last nine Italian top-flight matches, only the top two Milan (22) and Napoli (20) have picked up more points than Juve (19).

Despite that upturn in form, Allegri insisted the Bianconeri faithful must stay patient while his team continue to develop in his second tenure.

"The president asked me to return to work with the club to help Juventus return to being sustainable, obtaining results," Allegri told reporters on Friday. 

"We will put all our effort into making this happen, the team needs to work and it takes patience.

"We need to keep calm and continue working, the team is excellent. We have scored fewer goals than we would have liked and the numbers show it. 

"Football has evolved, but there is no escape from the goal difference: this is how championships are won.

"We have an important month to gain a few points. Tomorrow is not decisive, I think the most important matches will be the last six of the first round."

 

Allegri also took time to apologise to the fans following Wednesday's demolition by Chelsea, which was Juve's record Champions League defeat and second-worst in the European Cup/Champions League overall. 

"In London we lost a game and we're sorry, because we are Juventus and losing like this is not good," he added after Juve lost by four goals for the first time in 17 years in any competition.

"The match up to the 55th minute was balanced and we had a good first half, then after the second goal we lost our way, and this must not happen. 

"But we won the match we needed to win, the one in Turin against the European champions.

"Atalanta are also doing well in the Champions League where we hope all the Italians will qualify. Playing against them is always complicated, they are a physical team and we have to be attentive."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri is not angry with his side, despite slumping to the club's worst-ever Champions League defeat in their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of titleholders Chelsea.

Tuesday's rout was Juve's record Champions League defeat, and second worst in the European Cup/Champions League overall, behind a 7-0 loss to Wiener Sport-Club in October 1958.

It was also the first time Juventus lost by four goals in any competition in 17 years, dating back to February 2004 in a 4-0 Serie A defeat to rivals Roma.

Allegri's Juve had already qualified for the Champions League last 16, with Chelsea moving above them in Group H while clinching their own passage into the knockout stage.

Chelsea led 1-0 at the break from Trevor Chalobah's 25th-minute strike, before piling on three second-half goals via Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner.

"I'm not angry with the lads, but we had to play better in the second half," Allegri told reporters in London.

"[Dejan] Kulusevski went to the dentist yesterday, he had a problem and wasn't in any condition to start today. [Paulo] Dybala only had 30 minutes in his legs. But no excuses, we know that we have to play better than in the second half."

Chelsea registered 21 shots to Juventus' eight, including eight to two on target, despite a relative advantage with 55 percent of possession.

Allegri took comfort in Juventus having already secured qualification for the last 16, along with their 1-0 reverse fixture victory over Chelsea.

"We are disappointed with the four goals we conceded but our objective, which was qualification, has been achieved," he said.

"There were times when we lost possession trying to get forward immediately, when we had to keep the ball more.

"In Turin, we were attentive to the defensive aspect of our game for 90 minutes, but today we only did it for 45, then gave up. We know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Even after evenings like this, we will improve."

He added: "Chelsea are a great team, they are European champions... Today, we had a good first half, but we were punished in the second."

Juventus, who have 12 points from five games along with leaders Chelsea, will finish their group phase at home to Malmo while the Blues go to Zenit.

Leonardo Bonucci scored two penalties as Juventus beat Lazio 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday and insists that it does not matter where the goals come from as long as the Bianconeri win.

The centre-back's brace means he is now Juventus' joint-top scorer in Serie A this term, joining Paulo Dybala on three league goals for the season, and has the highest expected goals total in the squad (4.04).

It is indicative of the Bianconeri's struggles to score that the 34-year-old defender ranks so highly in those metrics, managing just 18 Serie A goals as a team so far - only good enough for joint-10th in the division.

Bonucci is unconcerned with where his side's goals come from, however, with Juventus desperate for a run of good results to lift them from seventh in the league.

"We must give our all to take Juventus back to battling for every objective," Bonucci said to DAZN. "We created a few important situations today with the strikers, such as Alvaro Morata in the first half and Moise Kean in the second.

"The important thing is to bring home the three points, it doesn’t matter who gets the goals. I believe we will bring home better results with more determination and self-belief as the season goes on.

"When you are Juve and have the start to the season we did, criticism is natural and we need to take that, but we saw that with the right spirit, we can make the difference.

"It was a fundamental victory, as it's always tough after the break for international duty. We know with this spirit of sacrifice, the games depend on us. We really did well to limit Lazio, allow them nothing and score two goals of our own."

Bonucci's success from the spot prompted questions as to why he was not on penalty duty for Italy, with Jorginho sending the ball over the bar in the 90th minute of a 1-1 draw with Switzerland on November 12 that contributed to the European champions' slide into the World Cup qualifying play-offs.

"A week ago, Jorginho was the penalty specialist and it was only right that he take it," Bonucci continued. "If I had been asked to take the penalty, it would not have been a problem."

Juventus travel to London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Tuesday before hosting Atalanta the following Saturday.

Massimiliano Allegri insisted Juventus should remain angry about the points they have frittered away in Serie A this season after his team returned to winning ways in the competition.

After defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona in their last two league games, Juventus came into the weekend as mid-table stragglers, the prospect of a Scudetto tilt almost already in tatters.

It would take something special from here to become involved in a title scrap, and a 1-0 win over Fiorentina, secured against 10 men by a stoppage-time Juan Cuadraro strike, was hardly the hallmark of a Juventus team on the up. Their first shot on target did not arrive until the 86th minute.

Yet a narrow home win might be a small step towards Juventus becoming a force again, with the three points being the pay-off for an intense week of training.

Head coach Allegri told DAZN: "Mentally we kept up well; this should make us happy for this victory, but very angry for the points left with Sassuolo, with Empoli, in Udine, in Verona.

"With a different mentality, with a different nastiness about our playing, we would have brought home some points, so we have to be happy, but also angry and not forget what we left behind us.

"If we had won against Sassuolo and Empoli we would be in an excellent position in the standings. We did not win, and we must do a mea culpa."

Allegri's second spell at Juventus could require abundant patience before reward arrives, unlike his previous tenure when he took over from Antonio Conte and continued the Turin giants' dominance, landing the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth Serie A titles amid a nine-year stretch of dominance.

This was Allegri's 200th victory for the Bianconeri in all competitions, as he became just the third head coach to reach that mark with Juve since 1929-30 after Giovanni Trapattoni (319 victories) and Marcello Lippi (227). Until Nikola Milenkovic was sent off in the 73rd minute, however, Juventus were up against it.

"Victory boosts our morale and must raise the level of attention for the future even more," Allegri said, quoted on the official Juventus website.

"The starting point for returning to being a team that aims for the top is simply running.

"We need availability and aggression: here we won all our tackles, against Sassuolo not even one.

"The difference is there, because then the team has quality. But we have to be a group on the pitch, which must not forget what we have left in the league so far."

Cuadrado echoed Allegri's assertion that it will be graft that moves this incarnation of Juventus in the right direction.

Juventus have now won 15 of the 16 Serie A matches in which the Colombian has found the net, drawing the other.

"I'm happy with the team's performance," Cuadrado said. "It was important to be ready, we must continue to grow and maintain this attitude in every match.

"Fiorentina played well, they forced us to defend, but defending well helps us to attack better.

"We are a very close team, a family, and this week has brought us together even more. We get up every morning with the desire to be at the top, but we don't have to talk, just work."

Massimiliano Allegri has urged Juventus to find "mental continuity" as he labelled all of the Bianconeri's upcoming Serie A matches as "must-win".

Juventus are languishing in ninth place, with just four wins from 11 games, and were beaten 2-1 by Sassuolo and then Hellas Verona in their previous two Serie A outings.

Allegri's men face seventh-placed Fiorentina next as they seek to chip away at the 16-point gap between themselves and unbeaten leaders Napoli and the Juventus head coach says his side must get into the habit of picking up three points.

"The league matches for us now are all must-win, until we find the mental continuity," Allegri said. "We have to be realistic and practical. Our matches in the league have always been open, and this is not good."

The 54-year-old hailed the quality of Saturday's opponents, picking out free-scoring striker Dusan Vlahovic, who has eight league goals so far this term.

However, Allegri backed his defenders to keep the Serbia international quiet.

"Fiorentina have three points more than us," Allegri continued. "They have technical players, they make the most of the whole pitch and have a very good coach.

"Vlahovic is a good player and the numbers show it, but we have excellent defenders. We need to play the right game, both technically and defensively."

Juventus ended their three-game winless streak with a 4-2 victory over Zenit in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Allegri refused to get carried away.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground," he added. "After the win against Zenit, we have to concede fewer goals and we need to put the last two defeats in Serie A behind us. Let's keep quiet, keep pushing and keep working.

"The match against Zenit is not a turning point, it must be normality, which fortunately we have had in the Champions League but not in the league. It is a mental growth that we have to do. You win a game, you put it aside and think of another."

The Bianconeri boss wants his side to be more ruthless in closing out games as they strive to climb the table.

"The only game in which we took the wrong approach was Verona," he said. "Our real problem is [that we] pull back when we take the lead, because that's where we become vulnerable.

"I like these challenges that we are facing now, there are many things to improve upon. Each defeat has its own story and it must be analysed well. The performances haven't been bad, but if you concede a lot of goals, something is missing."

Massimiliano Allegri hailed Juventus' response after they beat Zenit 4-2 to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 following defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona.

Paulo Dybala opened the scoring at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday and restored Juve's lead with a retaken second-half penalty after Leonardo Bonucci's own goal had brought Zenit level.

Federico Chiesa added a third for the Bianconeri – becoming the first Juve player since David Trezeguet in 2001 to score in four consecutive home games in the competition – and Alvaro Morata netted as Allegri's men cruised to victory.

Sardar Azmoun scored a late second for Zenit, but that could not stop Juve from sealing their fourth win from their opening four games for just the third time in the Champions League after doing so in 1995-96 and 2004-05.

After their ninth win in 10 home games in the competition, the Group H leaders secured qualification and Allegri saluted his side's desire following back-to-back Serie A losses.

"It's a question of wanting things, nothing else," Allegri told Mediaset post-match.

"The team has technique, everyone is growing. In the meantime, we have reached the first goal of the season."

Allegri sensed Juve were ready to put two poor results behind them.

He added: "We went to a retreat yesterday morning, we met and we had a good workout. Tomorrow morning as a reward I gave a day off, on Thursday we meet again for training."

Dybala moved past Bianconeri legend Michel Platini with a brace and imitated the Frenchman's famous celebration as he posed on the floor after his first goal.

Asked after the game about his celebration, Dybala – who has six goals and four assists in ten appearances this campaign - spoke of his adoration for Platini.

"Platini is an idol for me and for football, I hope he will watch it," Dybala said.

"I wanted to celebrate like this when I equalled his goal tally against Inter, but it was not the case in that game.

"We played as a great team and we achieved the result. We’ve reached the first target, now we want to go to London [to play Chelsea] and get the first place [in Group H]."

Paulo Dybala scored twice as Juventus confirmed their place in the Champions League round of 16 with a 4-2 victory over Zenit.

The Bianconeri had suffered consecutive domestic defeats but Dybala's first-half finish edged them ahead before Leonardo Bonucci's own goal.

Dybala restored the hosts' lead in contentious fashion after the break. The Argentina international dragged a first penalty wide but converted after a retake was ordered, with goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk adjudged to be off his line.

Federico Chiesa then scored for a fourth consecutive home game in the competition and Alvaro Morata got in on the act as Massimiliano Allegri's men maintained their perfect record in Group H and claimed their spot in the knockout stages.

Sardar Azmoun's late strike was too little, too late for third-placed Zenit at Allianz Stadium.

Dybala drilled against the post from outside the area in the opening stages but the forward was on target after 11 minutes, capitalising on a loose clearance to steer a left-footed strike into the top-right corner.

The lively Dybala then set up a chance for Morata, who blasted over, and that miss proved costly when Bonucci looped a header into his own net following Vyacheslav Karavaev's cross.

Juve had a goal from Morata ruled out for offside on the stroke of half-time and the lively Dybala whipped narrowly wide after the interval, but Juve did not have to wait much longer to regain the lead.

Claudinho's foul on Chiesa gave them a penalty, which Dybala skewed wide before rolling into the bottom-right corner with a retake after Kristyuk had moved too early.

Wojciech Szczesny pushed away from Malcom as Zenit attempted to respond, while Weston McKennie fired against the crossbar at the other end.

Chiesa added a third when he latched onto Federico Bernardeschi's throughball and drilled into the right-hand corner before Morata sealed the victory with a low finish following Dybala's pass.

Azmoun poked home a late second for Zenit, but that could not stop Allegri's side from coasting through.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri believes his side are a "mid-table team" following their 2-1 loss at Hellas Verona on Saturday, acknowledging they are currently no better than Igor Tudor's men.

An early double from the in-form Giovanni Simeone was enough for the hosts to seal the win, despite Weston McKennie's reply 10 minutes from time.

Simeone became the seventh player in the history of Serie A to have scored two or more goals against Juventus for three different sides (Genoa, Cagliari and Verona). The last player to do so was Enrico Chiesa, father of Juve star Federico.

The defeat was the fourth Juve have suffered in Serie A this season and comes after the late 2-1 reverse at home to Sassuolo just three days earlier.

Sitting in ninth place in the league following the latest setback, Allegri insisted his team can get out of their current funk but must be realistic as well.

"Words are meaningless right now. We're in a bad situation, we have to accept the reality that right now we are a mid-table team. We can get out of this situation with a little more determination and quality," Allegri said to DAZN after the game.

"We will drag ourselves out of this situation. There's no point feeling sorry for ourselves, that won't help, we just need to focus on what we need to do and then things will sort themselves out.

 

15 - Juventus have conceded at least 15 goals in their first 11 Serie A matches of the season for the first time since 1961/62, when they ended at 12th place of the table. Flaw. #SerieA #VeronaJuventus

— OptaPaolo  (@OptaPaolo) October 30, 2021

"It's a good squad, but things don't always go your way in football. We have to react with pride and determination. We had to play like a team that had one point, and we did, now we have to play like a team that has 15 points.

"We realised Verona were going to make it physical and a battle for every ball, so if you don’t meet them at that level, you will lose.

"Wearing the Juventus jersey does not give us a guarantee we will beat the teams in mid-table. We have to earn every point and do it with the right attitude."

When talking about playing styles, Allegri added: "Football is football, it is not fencing. You need to fight it out on the pitch at the same level. We lost a lot of tackles and aerial duels against Sassuolo too, and they are frankly not a very physical side.

"Verona knew that was how they had to play in order to beat Juventus. Our mistake was assuming we were better than Verona, and right now we are not. We must be realistic.

"There is no big team that has ever won without respecting their opponents. We are lacking that desire to fight it out, because games are a battle.

"There's nothing we can say now, we just need to stay silent and work hard to prove ourselves on the pitch."

Massimiliano Allegri was frustrated Juventus did not settle for a point against Sassuolo on Wednesday, instead leaving themselves open to concede a late winner as they chased one of their own. 

Juve lost 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium, their first defeat in 10 matches in all competitions and their first home reverse at the hands of Sassuolo. 

The Bianconeri had recovered from Davide Frattesi's first-half opener, as Weston McKennie headed in with 14 minutes to play. 

But Allegri's men went looking for a decisive second and instead allowed Maxime Lopez space to run through and score in the 95th minute, condemning Juve to their third defeat in 10 Serie A matches this term. 

It was the 13th league goal Juve have conceded this season – their most at this stage of a campaign since 1988-89 – and one of the most frustrating for Allegri. 

The coach, who became the third Juve boss to oversee 200 Serie A games, told a news conference his team "lost our heads" after equalising. 

He added: "We have to have a different management like we had up to the 75th minute. After the equaliser, we were frantic and we lost in the 95th minute. This cannot happen anymore. 

"When you can't win, you must not lose, and maybe this lost point will come to weigh heavy at the end of the season. 

"After the 75th minute, the inertia was over; if you can't score, you don't concede the second goal. Then it is a goal that is also bad to see." 

 

Juve drew 1-1 with Inter on Sunday, with that game providing an example of what Allegri was looking for, even if their equaliser at San Siro came courtesy of a controversial penalty. 

"It's more a mental thing, more a balance that we have to find, knowing that we don't have to be in a hurry, we don't have to be unstable when we play games," Allegri told DAZN. 

"We suffered less on Sunday. In Milan, when we were 1-0 down, we didn't even suffer a counter-attack, and today, at the end, we were immediately counter-attacked. 

"Against Inter, we were more orderly in playing the ball, more relaxed, tonight instead we were unstable after it went to 1-1." 

Federico Chiesa squandered Juve's best opportunities before McKennie's leveller, failing to hit the target with any of his game-high four attempts. He at least had a greater impact than Alvaro Morata, who did not have a single shot. 

Allegri stuck up for Morata, insisting: "Come the end of the season, he will have scored goals and he will surely have won games." 

Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa will start Juventus' Serie A clash with Sassuolo after Massimiliano Allegri accepted he made a mistake with his team selection against Inter.

Allegri introduced Dybala and Chiesa from the substitutes' bench with Juve trailing in Sunday's match at San Siro, and the former netted a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw.

Despite only being brought on in the 65th minute, Dybala led the way among Juventus players for shots (four), shots on target (two) and big chances created (two).

The Argentina international, who was returning from a four-game injury lay-off, has been directly involved in more goals (six) than any team-mate in all competitions this term.

Chiesa's 12 chances created this term, meanwhile, has been bettered by only Alvaro Morata (13) and Juan Cuadrado (15).

Juventus head coach Allegri explained the decision to overlook the pair for Derby d'Italia selection was down to fitness issues, with both set to be recalled against Sassuolo on Wednesday.

"Paulo and Chiesa will play, so everybody is happy. You write and I make you happy," Allegri, who was criticised for his team selection, said at his pre-match news conference.

"Dybala has important technical qualities. He is different from [Dejan] Kulusevski, but Kulusevski played a good game in Milan in the first 60 minutes.

"Chiesa is a top player. He's played many games already. On Sunday, I was wrong, but I had read the game in a different way, with Kulusevski man-marking [Marcelo] Brozovic.

"It's not a problem if a player starts on the bench, there are many games. Chiesa didn't drop to the bench because he deserved it. I had read the game in a certain way.

"Eventually, when he was introduced, we needed more quality and he had a great impact.

"Federico is a reference point for the national team and Juventus, but if I use the same players all the time, I'll need 20 new players in January.

"We hope we’ll play 57 games this season and sometimes players must rest. They can benefit from it, physically and mentally."

 

Allegri also confirmed Adrien Rabiot is back and available, but Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are ruled out for the visit of Sassuolo to Allianz Stadium.

Juve have taken 13 points from their last five Serie A matches – only Milan (15) are in better form – but they still sit down in sixth after a poor start to Allegri's second tenure.

The Bianconeri trailed leaders Napoli by 10 points heading into the weekend games, while Inter were also seven points off top spot, but Allegri still rates the defending champions as favourites to win the Scudetto.

"[Simone] Inzaghi won't admit it, but Inter are the favourites to win Serie A," Allegri said. "Anything can happen in football, but they remain the favourites.

"We had a bad start, so there is no room for mistakes. The draw against Inter is important, but only if we win tomorrow."

Juventus have lost only one of their 16 Serie A matches against 13th-place Sassuolo (W12 D3) – a 1-0 defeat in October 2015 via a Nicola Sansone goal.

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi claimed a penalty was the only way Juventus were going to score against his side after Sunday's 1-1 draw in Serie A's first Derby d'Italia of the season.

Inter were held by rivals Juve at San Siro, the first time since April 2019 the two teams have shared the points in the league as Massimiliano Allegri's fast-improving side earned another point in their recovery after a poor start to the 2021-22 campaign.

Edin Dzeko's first-half strike – his seventh goal in nine top-flight outings, as many as he scored in 27 appearances last term – was cancelled out by Paulo Dybala's late penalty, his 18th converted spot-kick in his last 20 attempts.

Inter substitute Denzel Dumfries was adjudged by VAR to have fouled Alex Sandro for Juve's 89th-minute penalty, a decision that infuriated Inzaghi so much he was sent off by referee Maurizio Mariani for throwing the ball away.

After the game, Inzaghi was still furious as he felt defending champions the Nerazzurri deserved all three points but did offer his apologies for his reaction.

"It was the only way in my opinion we could concede," Inzaghi told DAZN with Inter third and seven points behind Napoli and Milan, while Juve are three pointers further back. "We led the game from start to finish, we didn't concede anything to Juventus.

"They are two points thrown away that do not please me. The referee is there two metres away, he says that everything is fine and then he is called back. Sorry for the fans, we deserved more."

Inzaghi was then asked if Dumfries' infringement was avoidable and added: "I think so because we were clearly in numerical superiority close to the ball.

"We were never under pressure, we controlled from start to finish. I admit my gesture was not a good image to portray, but I felt in that moment it was not a VAR incident.

"As a coach, at the 89th minute of a game like that, with the referee right there waving play on, it's natural you’re going to get a bit angry the way I did."

Meanwhile, Allegri – who had previously won all three away league meetings against Inzaghi – was satisfied with a point as his side extended their unbeaten run to 10 games across all competitions.

"Before the draw, we had some actions where we didn't close and they were situations where we could have done better," Allegri started to DAZN post-match.

"We played with more confidence against Inter, it's an important point and allows us to have the possibility - even if we have to win - to increase the streak and then to nibble a few points before the break.

"But on Wednesday against Sassuolo we need to win. The match was beautiful, fought on a physical level and with good technical plays. We must improve in closing the action."

However, Allegri still implored Juve to improve after conceding 11 times in their opening nine Serie A matches – the first time they have done so since 1992-93.

"It depends on the first three games where we left eight points out of nine and it influenced us a bit," Allegri responded about Juve's form.

"We had to start from the basics, or rather from a good defensive position.

"We need to work on this, it's a matter of self-esteem. if we are aggressive in front, they play with a pipe in their mouth in the back."

Paulo Dybala's late penalty cancelled out Edin Dzeko's first-half strike as Inter were held by Juventus 1-1 in Sunday's Derby d'Italia clash in Serie A.

The Bianconeri started this term poorly – going winless in their first three top-flight games – but had responded well with a four-match winning run before travelling to Inter, who were facing consecutive league defeats for the first time since March 2020.

However, it was Dzeko who opened the scoring after 17 minutes at San Siro with his eighth goal of the season as the division's early top scorers added their 24th goal of the term.

Juve's nine-match unbeaten run across all competitions seemed destined to end but Dybala's late penalty, aided by a VAR decision that infuriated Simone Inzaghi so much he was sent off for his reaction, ensured Massimiliano Allegri's men left Milan with a point.

Samir Handanovic produced a fine double save to deny Alvaro Morata and Alex Sandro in the opening stages after Milan Skriniar had headed narrowly wide for Inter.

Hakan Calhanoglu then curled against the right-hand post before Dzeko converted on the rebound from close range – his fifth Serie A goal in just four home appearances so far this campaign.

Juan Cuadrado fired wide at the other end and Leonardo Bonucci sliced off target on the stroke of half-time as Juve looked to respond.

Dzeko flicked wide after the interval as he sought to extend Inter's lead before Ivan Perisic skewed over Wojciech Szczesny's goal just after the hour mark.

Substitute Dybala's free-kick was then beaten away by Handanovic before the Argentina international converted from the spot to score a late equaliser following Denzel Dumfries' foul on Alex Sandro, which was picked up by VAR.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes Inter remain the favourites for the Scudetto ahead of their clash in the Derby d'Italia.

Allegri's men visit San Siro on Sunday as they look to continue an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

The Bianconeri are 10 points adrift of leaders Napoli, who hold a two-point lead over Milan and are seven points ahead of defending champions Inter.

Inter's drop-off from their title-winning campaign is not a surprise given they lost coach Antonio Conte, star striker Romelu Lukaku and full-back Achraf Hakimi in the close-season.

But Allegri still sees the Nerazzurri as the team most likely to win the title come the end of the season.

"It will be a beautiful evening, there will be many spectators and a great atmosphere," he told a pre-match media conference. 

"There are many expectations from us, from Inter and from the fans. In my opinion, Inter is still the favourite for the Scudetto: it will be an important test."

Juve sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United in the transfer window and, though he netted only twice in six games against Inter in his time with the Turin club, Allegri accepts it will be more difficult to prevail without the superstar forward.

"It won't be a decisive match, but winning would allow us to extend the positive streak and take a leap forward," he added.

 

"With Ronaldo having left, everyone has more responsibilities, and we must seek this goal with all the players we have.

"Tomorrow, we will have to play well technically. Inter are strong: we need clarity and a desire to fight."

One player Juve should be able to count on is forward Paulo Dybala, who looks set to return having missed the last four matches with a muscle injury.

Despite being limited to five league appearances this season, Dybala has already displayed clinical form in front of goal, finding the net twice from 15 shots with an Expected Goals value of 0.8.

Massimiliano Allegri insisted Juventus should not get carried away with their upturn in form as they have not yet achieved any success this season.

The Bianconeri struggled at the start of Allegri's second tenure, losing consecutive league matches after drawing their Serie A opener against Udinese.

However, after defeating Roma 1-0 on Sunday, Juve have now won four top-flight games in a row and six consecutive fixtures across all competitions as they prepare to face Zenit in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

But despite the positive change in results, Allegri dismissed suggestions that his side's upturn in form could be seen as a breakthrough – warning that Juve have not achieved anything yet.

"It is not the turning point of the season, we needed results," Allegri responded to reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"The performances have improved as an approach; we have also improved in the final third where we needed a bit of clarity.

"At the beginning, we made good performances, but the results went against us with our mistakes.

"It takes calm; we don't have to be enthusiastic now because we have not done anything."

Juve have never lost against Russian opposition in Europe across eight previous encounters, while they are also looking to win their opening three matches of a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2018-19 – again under Allegri.

The Bianconeri have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last four games in the competition as well, and Allegri pinpointed their willingness to defend as a decisive factor for the improvement in results.

"I feel like smiling when they tell me 'your Juve'," the head coach said of his team's identity.

"I have good players, it's normal that at the beginning I didn't know everyone well. Right now, the team also likes to defend and this is a good thing.

"We need to improve – both the offensive and the defensive parts – then, the results increase self-esteem and you work with more serenity."

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