Allegri pleased with Juve display despite failure to have a shot on target

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Juventus' display in a 0-0 draw at Milan on Sunday despite their failure to register a single shot on target.

It was the first time the Bianconeri had not had a shot on target in a Serie A match since March 2019 against Genoa.

The stalemate meant Juve remained in fifth, 11 points adrift of leaders Inter having played a game more.

However, Allegri was not despondent with this side's efforts and believes they are on the right track.

"It was a good game. We were coming off a lot of head-to-head clashes and a defeat would've sent us 10 points behind Milan, so that'd be negative," he told DAZN.

"We need to be a little calmer and more focused in the final third, as we are hasty and get the final ball wrong. It was a hard-fought game with some strong tackles; it was balanced and a draw is the right result.

"I think we did better in the second half against a good Milan and being at this stage after two head-to-head meetings is good.

"I am glad because the lads are playing more like a team, understanding when to control the ball in defensive and attacking moments. We are getting there.

"Considering how we started the season, I am very happy to be in this position and we'll see what happens in February.

"This was one of those games where anything could happen. We kept Milan within seven points and that is the important thing."

 

Giorgio Chiellini was typically robust at the heart of Juve's defence on what was his 550th game across all competitions for the club, and the 37-year-old agreed with his head coach that the club are moving in the right direction.

"I always think positive and see the glass half full. Obviously, I'd have preferred to win, but it was a balanced game. We have improved since the start of the season and are more solid now," he said.

"It's a pity as a win would've given us a boost, but we are on the right path and there are four important months coming up. We're up there and have to keep going.

"I think we've improved in our reading of the game, as we are a team for 95 minutes, but we lacked that final moment in front of goal. It was a good Juve; we have done very well over the last month and a half."

Juve are next in action on February 5 when they host Hellas Verona in Serie A. 

Related items

  • Mbappe can play with freedom alongside Messi and Neymar, says Galtier Mbappe can play with freedom alongside Messi and Neymar, says Galtier

    Kylian Mbappe is a smart enough player to create space and play with freedom alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier.

    France international Mbappe appeared to question the tactics used at PSG when admitting last week he has "a lot more freedom" when playing for his country.

    The 23-year-old was speaking on the back a 2-0 win over Austria in which he and strike partner Olivier Giroud linked up throughout, with both players on the scoresheet.

    But while Galtier agrees that PSG could do with a Giroud-type player in their squad, he does not believe his side have a problem getting the most out of Mbappe in attack.

    "I don't think he has less freedom," Galtier said ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with his former club Nice. "With Giroud, he has someone who opens up spaces for him.

    "We don't have that player profile but he's just as smart to find other moves with Leo and Neymar giving him the ball in his preferred space.

    "Kylian's analysis is correct. He's not in the same system for his club and national team. This is a discussion I've had with the president and Luis Campos about our attack.

    "We were all convinced we needed a fourth player in that position with a different profile, but that player did not come [in the transfer window]. It's a shame but that's how it is.

    "The technical relationship between Neymar, Leo and Kylian is different to what he has with the national team."

    The relationship between PSG's star-studded front three was again in the spotlight this week when Neymar declined to comment on his relationship with Mbappe.

    Speaking earlier this month, Mbappe admitted he has "hotter and colder moments" with the Brazil international, though added they have a strong mutual respect.

    But when probed on the pair's relationship on Thursday, Galtier insisted he is more than happy with the chemistry in the dressing room.

    "I am surprised I have to always repeat the same thing," he said. "Since I arrived here, to the current day, all I've experienced is normal things in the life of a locker room.

    "There is nothing that's surprised me, nothing that has challenged me. The players here want to win together and they are also in competition [for a place in the side].

    "They are all great champions with competitiveness, with egos. We have a pleasant dressing room. There is a discrepancy between what you hear and the reality."

    The Parisians enter the contest with Nice top of Ligue 1 with seven wins and a draw from the opening eight matches of their latest title defence.

    However, PSG have scored only one goal in both of their past two league outings – not since September 2020 have they failed to score more than once in three straight games.

    Galtier said during the international break that his side need to show more of a "killer" instinct in front of goal, having managed 12 shots on target across the two matches.

    "I want to remind the players that it would be beneficial to us to hurt teams quickly," Galtier added at Thursday's press conference.

    "It will help with the management of the squad and playing time. But it must be said that opposing goalkeepers have also performed well against us."

    PSG are unbeaten in their past 17 Ligue 1 games ahead of their return to action this weekend, which is the longest current run in the division.

  • Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery Smith Rowe ruled out until December after undergoing surgery

    Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has been ruled out of action until December after undergoing an operation on his groin.

    The 22-year-old played in 33 of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games last season – only three outfield players featured more regularly – but he has struggled for minutes this term.

    Smith Rowe has not started any of league leaders Arsenal's opening seven matches in the competition and has totalled just 48 minutes on the pitch.

    He has been struggling with a persistent groin issue, which was aggravated in the 3-1 loss to Manchester United earlier this month, and it was decided he would undergo surgery.

    Arsenal confirmed on Thursday that Smith Rowe is facing a long spell on the sidelines, effectively ruling him out until the final fortnight of the year due to the break for the World Cup, a tournament the England international is now certain to miss.

    "In recent months, Emile Smith Rowe has been experiencing discomfort in his groin, which has limited his training and match appearances," the club statement read.

    "Following a significant setback at our Premier League match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on September 4, and after further specialist consultations and discussions with our medical team, Emile underwent surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his groin.

    "This successful surgery took place in London in the past few days and Emile’s rehabilitation programme is already under way. We are hopeful that Emile will return to full training in December.

    "Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Emile to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

    Smith Rowe has played 86 games for Arsenal in all competitions and has scored 18 times.

    The three-cap England international's shot conversion rate of 23.81 is the fourth best of any Premier League player to have scored at least 10 times since the start of last season.

    Arsenal return from the international break with a north London derby showdown against Tottenham on Saturday.

  • Allegri should leave Juventus if 'results don't come' – Sissoko Allegri should leave Juventus if 'results don't come' – Sissoko

    Juventus may soon be forced to "change the management" if Massimiliano Allegri cannot inspire a rapid improvement in their fortunes, according to former Bianconeri midfielder Mohamed Sissoko.

    The Italian giants have endured a tough start to the season, winning only two of their first seven games in Serie A and losing their opening two Champions League group-stage matches for the first time.

    And Sissoko – a Juventus player between 2007 and 2011 – feels the club may have to dismiss Allegri if they cannot beat Bologna at home on Sunday in their first match after the international break.

    "There's a big problem there. It's true, the start was very bad," Sissoko told Stats Perform.

    "We will see what happens after the international break because I think it's going to be a big moment if the team don't win."

    Allegri is in his second stint with the club having presided over a hugely successful tenure between 2014 and 2019, winning five straight Scudetti and reaching two Champions League finals.

    However, his second reign has been underwhelming. A fourth-place finish last season followed by a slow start this term has led to many fans calling for the Italian coach to be sacked.

    And Sissoko believes this feeling around the club is not beneficial for the players, saying: "When you work in this atmosphere it is not easy for players.

    "If the result don't come, I think it's better to change, to have fresh management, new people and new things."

    Juventus fans will be hoping star signings Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba can help Juventus climb the table.

    Di Maria, signed from PSG in pre-season, has scored once in his first four league games while Pogba is yet to play because of a torn meniscus.

    But Sissoko still believes the two signings will be a key part of Juventus' campaign.

    "The team need to work a lot – it's a team performance, but if you put more quality in this team, like Pogba, like Di Maria, 100 per cent it's not the same team," he added.

    Pogba has also had to contend with off-field controversy in recent months.

    His brother, Mathias, has been charged in connection with an alleged armed extortion attempt against the World Cup winner.

    Asked how this might affect Pogba’s performances for Juventus when he returns from injury, Sissoko said: "To be honest, it's not easy.

    "I think Pogba has the good mentality to support all these things. I think he's going to fix all these things with him and his family to come back to play football and to give a lot of things to the supporters and for himself also."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.