Clean sheets may guarantee points on the board, but, in the case of Juventus, they have almost always paved the way for a great deal more than that, winning nine of the ten league games since the turn of the year in which they have stopped the opposition from scoring.
Having watched his side remain unpenetrated for a ninth successive game in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Atalanta in Bergamo, Massimiliano Allegri stressed that such statistics were key to helping the Bianconeri in their bid for a fifth straight Scudetto crown.
He explained: “When you don’t concede, a top-of-the-table side such as ours has the players at its disposal capable of netting match-winning goals.
“The title-chasing teams typically score between 65 and 90 times in a campaign and so when you don’t let in many at the other end, it’s of course easier to win the league. This season, however, is extremely tight, as Napoli have conceded eight more goals than us, but they’ve also scored eight more.”
Analysing affairs over 90 minutes plus added time at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Allegri praised his players’ mental approach to the encounter, but underlined there were areas to work on, especially in terms of closing out the contest before potentially letting Edy Reja’s back into it after the interval.
“With ten games left, this is a very important win. We played very well in the first half and we ought to have done better with the ball after the break. It’s no good rushing things and thinking you can string together just three passes then score.
“Our approach today was the correct one, but when we let our foot off the gas they began pumping the ball more often into our box and we risked conceding. There’s room for improvement from that point of view.”
Asked to compare his current crop of players to the 2014/15 vintage, Allegri concluded: “This is a different Juventus to last year’s. We’ve ten new players, the youngsters have come on leaps and bounds over these months, but there’s still plenty to work on in terms of taking charge of certain situations within matches.”