Max Allegri believes “it’s easier to be beautiful than winning” and reveals his frustrations with Gonzalo Higuain.
Juventus are currently two points off the top spot with Napoli leading the way, but Allegri isn’t worried about the competition.
“Are we worried? No, we’re respectful of Napoli, Inter and Roma,” The coach told Tuttosport.
“Milan also had a big signing campaign to get into the top four and now they’ve become a bit detached. In the end these five teams – unless Lazio enter – will play for four places.
“Napoli have grown, they’d have three years of the same team playing together.
“Juventus have changed a lot and continued to win, they’ve grown in their play and it’s normal that this year, with a two point advantage, they feel, along with us, favourites for the Scudetto but it’s early.
“The season will be decided in March, as it always is.
“It’ll take 86 points to win, Roma and Napoli will have to re-do their records.
“We had 35 beautiful minutes against Atalanta. We went 2-0 up and then we started to do less and less…Football is ultimately a matter of solidity. Basking in your ability loses titles, it’s easier to be beautiful than winning.”
Allegri was asked about Gonzalo Higuain who was struggling for form before returning to the starting lineup.
“Gonzalo has to be more decisive. No matter whether he gets 25 or 30 goals, the important thing is that they’re decisive goals. He’s better physically, he’s worked over the international break, but he’s still not at 100 per cent.
“Higuain is an extraordinary player, I get angry with him a lot because I demand more, because he can do much more. So far he’s done 50 per cent of what he could do.
“Dybala? It’s difficult to make comparisons, because there are different players. I was lucky enough to coach Pirlo who, although he played a different role, was hugely talented.
“Ronaldinho was something outside of the normal. Once, playing against Barcelona, the Camp Nou applauded him for 10 minutes.
“Then I had Cassano, Robinho and Ibrahimovic, who was talented in his own way, different from the others.
“Dybala is 23, he has to grow a lot and he’s changed a lot physically since last year. He needs to learn how to handle games, because he can have a little less energy in certain matches.
“He has to improve his right foot too. He has to learn to use it, as does Bernardeschi or they only have one play. These are talented lads.
“Bernardeschi played well in Bergamo, but he didn’t have to foul Gomez, he had to get tighter to him and stop him from crossing. These are the details which win or lose matches.
“At Juventus every ball is important. At a mid-ranking team if you do two good things and make eight mistakes then they look at the good things and there’s nothing about the seven or eight mistakes.
“At Juventus that counts. Berna is talented, but he has to improve a lot to play regularly in a big team. At a big club, because you have to win, the character aspect is fundamental.
“Sometimes I can say: ‘That’s good. But it’s not enough to win’.
“Daniele? Rugani has grown a lot, but he has to make the last step. I’m content, putting aside the fact he’s still young. He’s quick, it’s difficult to get past him but he needs to improve his one-on-one positioning. He has to improve his anticipation.
“Douglas Costa isn’t a puzzle, when he gets the ball he becomes important, he always plays one-on-one. He also has to get to 100 per cent though, and now he’s at 60.
“He has to demand more, when you’re at Bayern or Juve you have to ask more of yourself. If Douglas bets on himself… mamma mia.
“The Champions League? Real are the number one favourites.
“They’d slipped a bit, they’ve dropped some points but now they’re starting to do the right things: they played at 70 per cent away to Dortmund and won.
“Barcelona have Messi, who makes the difference. Paris Saint-Germain aren’t decipherable at the moment, but they have guys like Neymar, Mbappé, Cavani, Dani Alves… We’ll see what kind of team they are in March.
“Do I miss Dani Alves? He’s an important player, a technical one, who did very well for us in the second half of last season.
“Bonucci? Leo was an important player, but the history of Juve is clear: a lot of important players have left.
“After Berlin, with the departures of Pirlo, Vidal and Tevez it seemed like Juve were finished, but instead we restarted.
“The same goes for the departures of Pogba and Morata. The club has done a good job.”
[Translation from Football Italia]