Massimiliano Allegri was pleased after his side’s win over Lazio at Juventus Stadium, their 27th consecutive home league victory. Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain got the goals in the first half, in a new-look Juve side with Pjanic, Mandzukic and the two Argentine goalscorers all starting.
“It was the right match for these changes but that doesn’t mean we’ll always play like that,” revealed Allegri. “The players showed that, when everyone is on board, you can accommodate lots of quality in the same side. Regardless of our formation, we still need to improve, especially with the prospect of having a good Champions League campaign.”
“Today we had great responsibility on our shoulders,” the coach continued. “The players responded really well and they deserve the credit for this performance. I asked them to play as a team and they did so. Besides hunger and desire, which you need to win any game, the team played well from a technical perspective. The two must go hand in hand because if you have desire but don’t play well you won’t win matches, nor will you if you perform well but don’t have that competitive edge. Of course, we could have done better in the final third but I’m pleased because we gave a big response.”
One of the big talking points was inevitably Allegri’s bold system: “I told myself after training that I needed to change something and I did so. The players’ attributes allowed us to approach the match with this formation. Mandzukic was brilliant on the left and it’s a position that Pjaca can also play, as can Sturaro albeit with different attributes. Pjaca did very well when he came on and had a couple of chances too. Pjanic played very well too and it’s fair to say we made full use of the 68-metre-wide Juventus Stadium pitch today. With the quality we have, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to close us down.”
Allegri stressed that his team must maintain this mindset: “The team have to keep this tempo up whatever formation we operate in. We kept the ball well in the second half, without being rushed, showing a little more patience. At times like that you have the chance to get forward at the right moment but perhaps we just needed to shift the ball a little quicker. We must be aware of how good we are and have belief in ourselves and our ability, even though to make the step up in the Champions League we have to be a little bit meaner. You can quickly wear out a formation, just as you can a young player. Not every season is the same in the lifespan of a team. There comes a time for everything and you must show great balance and calm to objectively assess every step of the way – you can’t rush things. That has to be our strength.”