Massimiliano Allegri lauded the way his Juventus side returned to winning ways as they overcame Empoli 2-0 in Tuscany on Saturday evening.
Tonight’s victory, coupled with Roma’s defeat away at Napoli by the same scoreline earlier on in the day, means the Bianconeri have opened up a three-point advantage on the Giallorossi.
And the Livorno-born tactician will be eager to see a repeat of the result when they face Olympiacos at Juventus Stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Speaking to Sky during his post-match interview, he began: ““It was important we got back to winning ways on the road, especially after Roma’s result.
"We went out tonight in a focused manner as we did in Genoa, where we played better in terms of intensity. We didn’t face as many shots on goal and yet ended up on the losing side, whereas in this evening’s game we could have conceded. Buffon did well to prevent them scoring.”
The 47-year-old was quick to admire the way his players upped their game in the second half following a sluggish first 45 minutes bereft of clear-cut chances.
“At times you need to defend , even at a team like Juventus, and if you’re unable to get the breakthrough, it’s important to stay in the match. The lads did well to do just that in the first half when we were unable to string moves together - at times we were too static and rushed our game.
“We pumped in too many forward passes, from time to time you just need to put two or three together when making your way towards goal. Empoli tailed off after the break, and we upped our game and won an important contest.”
With the encounters coming thick and fast ahead of this month’s international break, the 47-year-old chose to rest both Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, instead fielding Sebastian Giovinco and Alvaro Morata up front in what was the first ever time the duo have played together.
Allegri was impressed by the understanding the two forged, and also praised his midfield players who dominated proceedings throughout the contest in Tuscany.
“Giovinco put in a decent performance, he had two or three chances and showed decent movement, considering it is the first time he and Morata have played together up top. We needed to rest a few of the other players and they both put in a good shift.
“The midfielders are improving: Pirlo is back amongst the goals, Vidal grew in terms of intensity and Marchisio is in excellent shape.”
The Bianconeri boss ended his interview with a brief word on Simone Padoin – who had entered in the final stages following an injury to Kwadwo Asamoah – and stressed the importance of possessing a full roster of players at a crucial stage of the season.
“I’d like to give a mention to Padoin, a player who doesn’t feature as much, but when he came on, it seemed like he had been playing from the first whistle. He’s important for the options he gives me, we’re lucky to have these types of players in the squad.”