Juventus showed signs of improvement in their first home win of the season against Sampdoria but lost two key assets in Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, so they can’t be entirely satisfied, writes Lorenzo Bettoni in Turin.
Sometimes, little details make you understand that something is not going quite the right way, either in life or football. Juventus learned it by experience when they beat Sampdoria 3-2 at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday. It was another hard-fought win, with signs of improvements from the Bianconeri, who secured their second victory in a row in Serie A.
They had lost to Empoli and picked up a draw against Milan before the Blucerchiati’s trip to Turin and an early goal from Paulo Dybala seemed to suggest it wouldn’t have been a difficult afternoon for the Bianconeri. After just a few minutes, they quickly changed their mind as the Argentinean suffered a muscle injury that forced him off the pitch in tears, suggesting he would miss the upcoming match against Chelsea even without the need for an official update from the club.
Max Allegri’s side seemed to have killed off the game twice, first when Leonardo Bonucci doubled the lead from the spot and then when Manuel Locatelli scored his first goal in a Black and White shirt in the second half. But nothing appears to be easy for Juventus so far this season, as goals from Maya Yoshida and Antonio Candreva kept Sampdoria’s hopes alive until the very end.
Allegri saw ‘signs of improvement’ in the game against the Blucerchiati and he is right. Juventus had a better approach to the second half and created enough opportunities to justify the three points. However, their third win of the season had a bittersweet taste as Alvaro Morata was also forced to leave the pitch early due to a muscle injury.
After the game, Allegri confirmed that both he and Dybala won’t return to action before the October break, meaning they’ll miss both games against Chelsea and Torino. He commented on the injuries with the usual smile on his face. Allegri is not one of those managers who feels sorry for himself. “We’ll find 11 players for the game,” he used to say, under similar occasions, during his first spell in Turin. On Sunday, he didn’t repeat the same line, but the philosophy remains the same.
Andrea Barzagli was commenting on the game on DAZN and praised his former coach for his attitude. He doesn’t think about the opportunities he’s lost, but he focuses on the chances he may get. The Bianconeri have lost their best goalscorers for – at least – the next two games. Therefore, Moise Kean will be the only centre forward available against the Blues, given that the young Kaio Jorge is on the treatment table and hasn’t been included in the Champions League squad list.
During his post-match presser, Allegri stressed that the game against the Blues won’t be decisive to go beyond the group stage, unlike the two encounters with Zenit.
Allegri in his post-match presser: 'We'll see how to play against Chelsea without Dybala and Morata. It's not a decisive game anyway. The key games for the qualification are those against Zenit.' #Juve #Juventus #JuveSamp #JuveChelsea #CFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/BgO9nuYsg2
— Lorenzo Bettoni (@LoreBetto) September 26, 2021
The coach already knows he’ll need to make changes against the defending title holders and probably he is happy not to have the pressure to win the game or the group. He knows Juventus have a long path ahead and he must accept every small improvement he sees from his team.
Perhaps, when he accepted to return to Juventus signing a four-year deal, he thought he’d only need some small touches to return to greatness. The reality is he almost needs to start from scratch, either building a new identity or, most likely, restore the one his team had had during his first five-year spell.
“Clean sheets are pretty rare nowadays anyway, I saw yesterday 2-2 and 3-3 results,” Allegri told DAZN after the game.
“I don’t know what happened over the last two years, I can only say we are working well. We should’ve been 3-0 up after 20 minutes, we created far more than in the other games.
“We cannot think Juventus must dominate for 90 minutes, because nobody can, but when the time comes to defend against a good side like Sampdoria, we need to be ready.”
It will be even more needed against Chelsea, especially because Juventus’ best goal scorers won’t be available. However, Allegri will be pleased to see more signs of improvement against one of the best clubs in Europe.