Juventus – Problems Mounting for Massimiliano Allegri

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Serie A giants Juventus find themselves marooned in mid-table after slipping to a fourth league defeat of the season away at Hellas Verona. The loss compounded the problems faced by manager Massimiliano Allegri, whose return to the club after a two-year absence has yet to prompt a reversal in the team’s dwindling performances on the pitch.

Allegri once again hit out at his players in the aftermath of this latest defeat, telling DAZN they need to show more “determination and quality” if they are to start climbing the league table, while also claiming his team made the “mistake of assuming” that they are currently any better than the teams around them.

Problems Mounting Around Returning Juventus Manager Massimiliano Allegri

Italian Manager Inherited a Team in Decline From Andrea Pirlo

In truth, any belief that this Juventus team could return to its former glories upon the return of its experienced and highly successful manager could be classed as wishful thinking before a ball was even kicked this season.

Having recognised that the team around him had become something of a declining force, star player Cristiano Ronaldo left for Manchester United after playing in just one game of the new season. The departure of the Portugual talisman–who was still under contract for another year following his £99.2 million switch from Real Madrid in 2018–left Allegri with even fewer players of genuine elite-level quality at his disposal in his current squad.

Looking through the team that was soundly beaten in Verona this weekend reveals the true nature of the dearth of quality that stretches throughout this Juventus side. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny remains the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, but few would argue the Polish international operates at the same level of the finest shot-stoppers in Europe. Iconic defensive duo Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini showcased their enduring class at the heart of Italy’s run to glory at Euro 2020, but at 34 and 37 years old respectively, these are not the kind of players who can usher this Juventus team into a new era.

Allegri deployed a workman-like midfield four containing Brazilian Arthur and Uruguayan Rodrigo Bentancur at its core, flanked by former Chelsea man Juan Cuadrado and France international Adrien Rabiot. Between them, they were unable to fashion much in the way of chances for Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata. While the former has often proved himself to be an untouchable figure in Juve colours, Spain striker Morata –a player deemed surplus to requirements by both Madrid clubs as well as Chelsea over the course of his career–has flattered to deceive on a consistent basis since re-signing for The Old Lady in September 2020. He has only scored twice in ten league games so far this season.

What Else Allegri Said After Defeat in Verona

Allegri is understandably hugely frustrated with the club’s latest defeat. Juventus have won only four of their eleven matches in Serie A so far this season.

The 54-year-old did not hold back in his post-match assessment of his players, questioning both their attitude and quality. He said: “Words are meaningless right now. We’re in a bad situation, we have to accept the reality that right now we are a mid-table team.

“It’s a good squad, but things don’t always go your way in football. We have to react with pride and determination. We had to play like a team that had one point, and we did, now we have to play like a team that has 15 points.

“We realised Verona were going to make it physical and a battle for every ball, so if you don’t meet them at that level, you will lose. Wearing the Juventus jersey does not give us a guarantee we must beat the teams in mid-table. We have to earn every point and do it with the right attitude.

“Verona knew that was how they had to play in order to beat Juventus. Our mistake was assuming we were better than Verona, and right now we are not. We must be realistic.”

 

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