The Old Lady loses her mind. After two complicated years marked by disappointing results, early eliminations in the Champions League and two fourth places in Serie A, Juventus wanted to get off to a good start in this 2022-23 season. For this, Massimiliano Allegri was counting on the transfer window to strengthen an orphan team of Paulo Dybala, Matthijs de Ligt or Giorgio Chiellini. His management therefore tried to satisfy him by recruiting Angel Di Maria, Paul Pogba or even Gleison Bremer. But the Italian technician could not count on all his troops, some elements being on the flank.
Juve are in trouble
Which didn’t help Juve get off to a good start. Indeed, after eight matches played in all competitions, the Turinese have a disastrous record of 2 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. Admittedly undefeated in Serie A (2 wins and 4 draws), the Italian team (8th, 10 points) is disappointing. In the Champions League, it’s even worse since they lost twice (last tied with Maccabi Haifa, 0 points). The first time against Paris Saint-Germain (2-1). The second, against Benfica (2-1) yesterday. However, everything had started rather well with the opener of Arkadiusz Milik (4th).
Then, not much. The Old Lady fell back into her ways and finally bowed out at home. A defeat that did not go at all to the side of the supporters present at Juventus Stadium. The latter also whistled the players. What Captain Leonardo Bonucci fully understood, questioned by the Gazzetta dello Sport after the meeting. “Of course the whistles are justified. We have to worry because we go out of the game too often. I don’t know if the reasons are mental or physical. We struggle to be consistent. We lost a match that we absolutely should not have lost..
The Italian press turns on the players
He pursues : “It’s true that we get booed. There is little to say, we must be silent, work and move forward. I think it’s a situation that can be changed, we have a lot of absent players. Today, it’s everyone’s fault. It’s not just the players, it’s not just the coach, it’s not just the club. It’s everyone’s fault. ». And no one is spared this Thursday in the transalpine press. « Juve derails: do something please »title Tuttosport. The Italian media then released the sulfateuse to light up the Juventus players. Everyone took a lot.
“It’s not just Allegri’s fault. The responsibilities of the players are also obvious. Someone has to do something fast, the season is derailed after only 6 league games and 2 Champions League games, both lost, setting a new negative record for Juventus history. Dusan Vlahovic, 7.5 million net per season, fails to control a ball properly, does not make an accurate pass, stays offside. Di Maria is physically absent. Cuadrado a ghost. McKennie, the usual awkward. There are so many decisive players missing. Only Allegri’s fault? Maybe not, but now he’s the only one who can do something. ».
Allegri, culprit n°1
For its part, the Gazzetta dello Sport worries. « The Champions League is hanging by a thread, bad even in the league: yet the team is cut out for Max »writes the publication on pink paper which does not spare the bianconero coach. “They (the leaders, editor’s note) listened to him, they satisfied him. In all, or almost. A year ago, Allegri wanted a centre-forward, a real number 9, a surface fox: in January, they took Vlahovic, the best at the time, at least; now it is much less effective and too nervous, perhaps also because it is badly exploited. Fabio Capello also tackled Allegri on Italian television.
“It was a difficult match, Juventus never managed to regain the upper hand. They didn’t have the pace of their opponents. After great minutes, we saw a huge difference in quality and intensity. It’s a difficult moment for the Bianconeri. (…) They took scary counter-attacks, there was no balance on the pitch. Benfica players had the will, the strength and the speed. Happy? Before he had another team, now he can no longer find the key to the problem and a direction”. Always supported by his management, while a rumor ignited Twitter after the meeting about his dismissal, Allegri will have to find solutions and remobilize his group.
A dressing room that questions itself
A group that obviously would not be fully behind him. After the match, Angel Di Maria reportedly told Milik, who came out in the 70th minute: « Why did he change you? ». Images that ignited social networks. But the Turin technician does not feel under pressure. “Me in danger? No, hard times are part of the game. The only thing to do is shut up and work. We played well for the first 20 minutes, then we started to retreat and struggled. We can say that after the 2-1 the match is practically over. We could have conceded more goals, we had the chance to score at the end, but the performance would have been the same. You have to shut up, work and think about the next league game..
He added : “these moments are coming, they will come again, we have to leave the team with a big responsibility, we have a difficult game on Sunday, then we will think about the Cup, nothing is lost”. While Juventus had never lost twice in a row in the first two days of the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, a reaction is therefore expected on Sunday in Monza on the seventh day of Serie A. A new counter- performance could seal the fate of a Massimiliano Allegri more than ever in the hot seat.