Allegri fires warning as Juventus stutter again
From the joy of reaching last season’s Champions League final and a first league and Cup double in 20 years, the Bianconeri have recently come back to earth with a bump.
Juve have won just one of their five opening league games, and endured the ignominy of becoming the first team to award lowly Frosinone their first ever Serie A point when the league newcomers earned a late draw in Turin on Wednesday.
Up until now, Allegri has called for his side — which welcomed a raft of new players following the departure of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and striker Carlos Tevez — to be given patience to gel.
But the Italian’s own patience appears to be wearing thin. Allegri has warned they risk going from heroes to zeros if they fail to stop the rot.
“We have to grow as a team by winning games, not by making costly mistakes,” Allegri said after Leonardo Blanchard headed home in extra-time to level Simone Zaza’s second-half strike for the champions.
“We need to work and improve to bring this squad up to a certain level. We have to develop, otherwise we’ll become a team that can beat everybody but also be beaten by everybody.”
He added: I’m disappointed for the lads, but right now we’re not developing the way we should be.”
Juventus dominated Frosinone from the outset and created ample opportunity to score, Paul Pogba notably firing a header off the crossbar, but Frosinone’s defensive tactics frustrated the champions throughout.
Allegri switched to a 3-5-2 formation halfway through and it had the desired effect. Juve’s chances on goal increased, but Frosinone stubbornly dug in.
When the hosts gave away a corner late in the game, they paid for it dearly when Blanchard was allowed to rise above the defence and beat Juve’s second-choice goalkeeper Neto with a powerful header.
Blanchard’s goal was all the more sweet as several months ago the defender had travelled to Berlin to support Juventus during their 3-1 defeat to Champions League winners Barcelona.
For the minnows’ coach, the historic point was all the more enjoyable as he used to play for Juve’s bitter city rivals Torino, although he admitted Frosinone’s tactics did not warrant them earning anything from the game.
“Paradoxically, this was the game that we shouldn’t have deserved to get a point,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“When they changed tactics halfway through, they put us in trouble. They were winning all the duels.
“But we tried to hang on, we put another forward up front to try and boost our chances on the counter-attack.
“The positive thing is we believed right up till the end. We battled, and held on for our first, historic point. I’m not going to say I’m even more happy because I’m an ex-Torino player, I’m more happy for the team.”
Juventus, who have by contrast gotten off to a great start in their Champions League campaign with a precious 2-1 win away at Manchester City, travel to Napoli on Saturday.