Massimiliano Allegri says he is confident of Juventus regaining their Serie A stride when they take on Palermo tomorrow afternoon in Turin.
The 47-year-old insists he is determined to bounce back from the midweek defeat in Athens and believes his team has what it takes to continue their strong start to the league campaign against the Rosanero.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, Allegri began: “It’s important to get back on track tomorrow against Palermo, a team who have tightened up a great deal since the start of the campaign.
“They’ve got Dybala up front, who’s enjoying a good season. Vazquez has good technique, and Belotti has a great future ahead of him. We’ll need to show plenty of intensity and play well technically.”
“Of course, we need to reflect on where we went wrong in Athens, but we know that games are completely different in Europe compared to Italy. We’ve claimed six victories and a draw in the league, turning in excellent performances, so I’m very happy overall.”
The boss admitted he was disappointed with the team’s first half performance in Greece but expressed his surprise at the level of criticism directed at his men following the midweek Champions League defeat.
“I feel the criticism of the team has been unfair. We had a poor first half in Athens, conceding on the counter after a misplaced pass in midfield, but you can’t write off a team after one half of football. We still have every chance of going through to the knockout stages and mathematically can still finish top of the group. ”
As far as improvements are concerned, Allegri has identified precision in both penalty boxes as key areas to refine on the training ground.
“We’ve conceded four goals in the last three games, and that angers me, but, on the other side of the coin, we didn’t allow our opponents a shot on goal in the first five. It’s the results that count at the end of the day, and these place us top of the table. We also need to improve our finishing, as we’re only putting away 25 per cent of the chances we create.”
After putting in a bright display on his full debut for the Bianconeri on Wednesday, Alvaro Morata has been heavily tipped to be handed his first start at Juventus Stadium against Palermo.
But Allegri insists the striker’s selection is not a foregone conclusion, revealing he has plenty of other options capable of staking a valid claim for a starting berth.
“Morata put in a good performance in midweek. I don’t feel obliged to play him, though, as I always look to make the right choices depending on the game we face.
“Llorente has always worked well for the team and is just lacking a goal, something I feel will give him added confidence and get him back to scoring like he did last season. Having said that, I feel we’re well covered in attack. Giovinco’s doing well and Coman can be relied on.”
Ending with an update from the treatment table, Allegri spoke about the respective conditions of Luca Marrone, Romulo, Martin Caceres, Patrice Evra and Andrea Barzagli.
He concluded. “Marrone is back training with the first team, as is Romulo, and will be available next week. We hope to have Caceres back for Olympiacos.
“Unfortunately Evra pulled up with an injury yesterday. It’s a shame because I had him in mind for tomorrow. Then there’s Barzagli, who unfortunately suffered a minor setback when he was about to return and needs added time to recover.”