04.02.2016 00:18 - in: Serie A S

      Allegri: “Games like these decide titles”

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      Massimiliano Allegri reflects on Wednesday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over Genoa. In the words of the Tuscan, “these are the kinds of games that win you the championship.”

      A professor of level-headedness, Massimiliano Allegri is rarely wide of the mark in his post-match analyses and the Tuscan’s view of the Bianconeri’s narrow and gritty 1-0 victory over Genoa on Wednesday evening was no exception.

      Discussing his side’s record-breaking 13th consecutive league triumph, the Juventus coach began, “Historically games between Juventus and Genoa are rarely straighforward and (Gian Piero) Gasperini is always a difficult coach to beat.

      “We’re coming off the back of an intense run of fixtures and Sunday’s excellent win against Chievo created a buzz both inside and outside the dressing room. Tonight’s game brought us back to earth: to win the league you need to pull through and win matches like this.”

      While there may have been a slight contrast in the margin of victory and conviction of performance between Sunday afternoon and this evening, the result crucially was still the same. For Allegri, at this stage of the season, that is in essence all that counts.

      “To win the title, you need to come through tests like this. Credit to Genoa, they gave us an uncomfortable evening.”

      Massimiliano Allegri

      Record-breaking runs aside, the most important landmark on which to focus for the Bianconeri is a fifth consecutive league title.

      “Records don’t mean much to me,” he continued. “Our focus now is solely on our next challenge on Sunday (against Frosinone) which we’ll be approaching with just two strikers available due to (Simone) Zaza’s suspension.

      “All we can do is prepare for Frosinone: we have to win there and make sure we are no more than two points behind when we take on Napoli here in two weeks’ time.”

      Turning attentions to his side’s performance, the Bianconeri boss acknowledged that while his men did not reach the heights of previous weeks, they were worthy winners nonetheless against a dogged and competitive Genoa outfit.

      “When you come up against a physical and organised side like Genoa you must use the space as best you can and be clever in your movement off the ball and we didn’t quite manage that tonight.

      The team that has the ball controls the tempo of the game and we looked dangerous on the occasions we acted quickly and got in behind their defence at pace. The spirit shown by the boys when they went down to ten men (after Simone Zaza’s red card) and the desire to keep working carried us over the line to victory.”

      On that very subject of the mentality of his players, Allegri remained typically calm and measured when discussing the dismissal of substitute Zaza and the disappointment of Alvaro Morata for the Spaniard’s second-half withdrawal.

      “Simone needs to stay calm and level-headed: when you play for a team like Juventus you need to keep your cool and to manage the game as best you can whether you start from the beginning or not.”

      “Was Morata frustrated (to be substituted) tonight? None more so than me! He played two fantastic matches last week and needed to rest. He’s going well: with Mario Mandzukic out, we’ve got three forwards all under the age of 23 and we need to be patient and let them progress naturally.”

      The final word however was fittingly reserved for Martin Caceres, carried from the field on a stretcher with an injured achilles tendon after falling awkwardly jumping for a header.

      “It’s a real shame for Martin because he’s a great character and a fine defender: we’ll see what the damage is tomorrow and we hope it will be less serious than first thought.

      “Overall, I’m not too concerned by our injury list: Asamoah should be back in training by Monday and we will continue to assess Khedira and Mandzukic on a day-by-day basis with a view to getting them both fit for Napoli.”

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