Massimiliano Allegri shared the plaudits with his players after masterminding the Bianconeri’s second goal-laden display in the space of four days with tonight’s comfortable 4-0 victory over Verona.
The most pleasing aspect of his team’s performance in the eyes of the Tuscan coach was the defensive shutout, with Gianluigi Buffon and his colleagues celebrating their first clean sheet since the goalless stalemate away at Fiorentina in early December.
Speaking to the media after the game, Allegri began: “Credit to the lads. I’m working with a great group that’s aiming to achieve an extraordinary target. It wasn’t easy to win after putting six past the same team but we handled the game well. The most positive aspect is perhaps the clean sheet, it’s been a while since our last one and we defended really well this evening.
“We allowed them a couple of avoidable counter attacks and there’s room for improvement. However we’re playing well and when we all move in the right way, with focus, it’s difficult to attack us.
“We still get caught napping at times, but the lads are enjoying a great season and have what it takes to win the league and progress in the Champions League.”
Allegri says the Bianconeri will be rewarded for their endeavours with a day off tomorrow, but was quick to look ahead to the next challenge that lies ahead for his in-form outfit.
“It was a good weekend. Now we’ll have a day off and then look ahead to another home game we have to win. We’re in good shape physically and are back motoring along, something that can make the difference in the second half of the season. There’s still a long way to go, we know we could experience sticky patches at some stage, but we’re all in good nick.”
Concluding with an assessment of several individuals, Allegri explained the reasoning behind Martin Caceres’ inclusion before discussing the merits of Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra and Paul Pogba.
“Lichtsteiner played on Thursday and is feeling a bit of discomfort in his ankle, so I opted for Caceres. Morata has extraordinary technical qualities and has come to play in a new league with a level of responsibility he didn’t have before. He often plays for the goals and instead this evening he was almost the support striker. He needs to be less frenetic and understand that chances can go begging and there’s plenty of time in games.
“Pereyra’s in excellent shape and has also started scoring. Pogba is very young, even though we treat him like a veteran. He needs to understand that certain things can only be done in certain areas of the pitch, but he put in a great display tonight. Ballon d’Or? I think you would need to win a Champions League, European Championship or World Cup, but he’s got the potential to get there.”