Allegri: “A well-deserved victory”
Nothing but praise then from the boss on the back of Sunday night’s 3-1 triumph at Juventus Stadium over fellow title chasers and in-form Fiorentina.
Tonight’s result and performance may just cause the league’s leading pack to cast a nervous glance over their shoulder at a Juventus now in full flight following six consecutive Serie A successes.
Unsurprisingly, Allegri wants to see even more from his side. Meeting the media after the game, the Tuscan boss began: “The race is on for us now to amass enough points across the rest of the season to finish first, second or third.
“We’ve still got plenty to do and the leaders Inter are in excellent form at the moment and they, for me, are still the favourites. To catch up with them, we’ve got to produce an extraordinary comeback.”
Speaking of comebacks, the 48-year-old added that his team’s superb turn of pace harks back to October’s defeat at Sassuolo, a point from which the Bianconeri’s hard work and desire has seen them surge up the standings.
“We made a few slight changes after the reverse in Reggio Emilia. We needed a bit of time to find the right balance, as we had a few problems early on, but now the boys are flying. We need to keep up the work ethic that we’ve shown in the last few weeks and, more importantly, maintain the excellent spirit in the dressing room at the moment.
“We’re in great shape physically, we’ve got players returning from injury and the rest of the squad have made telling contributions from the bench.”
Turning attentions to the performance itself, the Bianconeri coach praised the commitment of his men before reserving a special mention for the scorer of the Old Lady’s third goal on the night, Paulo Dybala.
“It was a very enjoyable game: the first 45 minutes were very intense and the boys kept up the tempo very well in that period.
“There were times when (Nikola) Kalinic stretched our backline and created space for the creative midfielders behind him but in the end their only shot on target came from a penalty. Overall, I still think we could have defended slightly better.
“Dybala is growing with every game at the moment and I have no doubt that he is going to be an extraordinary player. He’s improving every aspect of his game and his belief in his own abilities in sky-high. As with all things, however, we need to take things one step at a time.”
One statistic in particular stood out from this evening’s encounter and it is one that will bring great pleasure to Allegri: no one has won more points in the league from losing positions this season, with all three comeback victories against Bologna, Empoli and Fiorentina ending with a two-goal advantage.
According to the boss, more of the same fighting spirit will be needed to ensure they end 2015 on a high.
“We’ve got Carpi next in the league for what will be a tough game against a side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table. Winning six games in a row at this level is no mean feat. The first thing on our minds now, however, is getting to the next round of the Coppa Italia on Wednesday night. If we can do that, then we can all enjoy a good Christmas.”
Even before that midweek clash with city rivals Torino, the small matter of Monday’s Champions League last 16 draw will occupy the majority of the manager’s thoughts for the immediate future.
“Independently from everything else, we are in the knockout stages. Last season we reached the final. From my point of view, the other teams left in the draw should be worrying about facing Juventus and not the other way around.
“From March onwards it’s an entirely different competition. For now, we can focus on our objectives domestically and look to continue the momentum that we have built up recently. It’s important to be solid in every game we play and at the moment, we are exactly that.”