Champions League: Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri insists club isn't in crisis
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted Tuesday that the Serie A champions were not in crisis despite recent setbacks.
Turin: Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted Tuesday that the Serie A champions were not in crisis despite recent setbacks.
Italian title-winners in the last six seasons, Juventus lost to Lazio on Saturday — a first home defeat in over two years — to trail leaders Napoli by five points.
But Allegri said morale was buoyant ahead of a key Champions League clash at home against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.
"Juventus is not in a crisis, the championship is long, the Champions League is another competition," he told a press conference.
"We have to regain balance. We can't get depressed, because we drew in (Atalanta) Bergamo and we lost at home to Lazio.
"What matters most right now, however, is tomorrow's match against Sporting, who will be a difficult opponent, as they defend well, and have a strong and experienced coach.
"They played a great match against Barcelona, so we must be smart, keep our heads and stay focused."
Juventus are level on three points in Group D with Sporting — who have never won in Italy — with Barcelona leading after winning their opening two games, 3-0 over the Italians and 1-0 over the Portuguese.
"It's mathematics. If we win the next two games we are qualified, otherwise, we have to wait for others," said Allegri, who insisted he would still count on Argentine star Paulo Dybala for penalties despite him missing two in recent games.
"After the first few games he (Dybala) was being compared to (Lionel) Messi, now because of the penalties, he isn't anymore.
"He's young and extraordinary, these things will strengthen him and allow him to find a balance.
"Will Dybala take the penalties? Always him. That absolutely will not change."
Meanwhile, veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini warned that the championship was not on the back-burner as they focused on the Champions League after two heartbreaking final defeats in the past three years.
"Juventus have always held great importance for the Italian championship, bearing in mind that you can only get to the Champions League if you play well in your domestic league," he said.
"The experience is different, what you need to win is different, and you must be ready to go from day one in the Champions League while Serie A is a more gradual growth step by step."
Pochettino now looks set to unleash Lionel Messi, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, from the start at the Jan Breydel Stadium against Club Brugge in the Group A opener.
Serie A: Juventus report losses of $250 million for 2020-21 financial year due to effects of COVID-19 pandemic
Revenue from player registration rights (transfer market) dropped 129 million euros (more than $150 million) from 2019-20, while ticket sales fell more than 41 million euros ($48 million) from the year before.
Juventus were left struggling in the unlikely surroundings of Serie A's bottom three on Sunday after a 1-1 draw with AC Milan kept them searching for a first league win this season.