Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri says his side “didn’t play very well” in their 1-0 home win over Verona, and reiterates they “earned 59 points on the field” despite the points deduction.
The Bianconeri did the bare minimum to earn three points against a Hellas Verona team in relegation trouble as a 55th-minute goal by striker Moise Kean proved enough to seal a 1-0 home victory on Saturday.
It was Juve’s fifth straight win in all competitions as they stay in the hunt for a top-four finish and a place in Europe.
The result left Massimiliano Allegri’s side in seventh place with 44 points, three behind sixth-placed AS Roma, who will be in action on Sunday.
However, manager Allegri was so enraged that he stormed off down the tunnel before the final whistle, not the first time he has expressed his frustration at the players.
“We knew the difficulties of this game, as Verona are physically strong and have quality, both teams had chances to score. We started the second half well and could’ve doubled our lead, we did not, but still brought home the result,” he said.
“We didn’t play very well and I think in the last five minutes we had to go and score a second goal, keep pushing them and maintain the pressure.
“It doesn’t seem like much five minutes, but all Verona needed was a long ball into the box and anything could happen. We could’ve been here licking our wounds if they had equalised.”
With Inter losing to Fiorentina on the same day, Juve have fought their way back to within six points of third-placed Inter, despite the 15-point penalty.
“This result means we have earned 59 points on the field, closing the gap on Inter and momentarily on Milan and Lazio. We’ve got Inter on Tuesday in the Coppa Italia and then Lazio on Saturday, so we’ve got to be ready.”
The decision of their appeal against that penalty will be reviewed on April 19, which could be pivotal not only for this season, but also for the club’s fate.
“In football if you have a good run of results, that allows you to catch up pretty quickly. We have to take it one step at a time. The ‘real’ table that we see there shows we are still four points off the Champions League spots and that is a lot.
“I repeat, it is not easy to play in these circumstances, but the lads are doing well. The first game back after international duty is also usually a tricky one and they did well to get it done.”
Kean has netted six times from open play this season, the same tally as Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik, but while this showcases an improvement from the Italian, the Serbian hitman remains out of form, and seems like a shadow of the striker he was at Fiorentina.
“Vlahovic is doing some good things, especially against Inter. I realise that from the outside Dusan is seen as the one who was meant to resolve Juve’s problems. He arrived in January last year and gave us a crucial push with enthusiasm, but he had only one season at Fiorentina under his belt and playing at Juventus is not the same as other clubs.
“I think he is doing better than last season on a technical level, so I am pleased with that. He just needs to stay calm. Kean and Vlahovic are more finishers, while Milik has more experience and knows where the ball will land.”