Allegri: ‘Juventus feel what we achieved was taken away’

Max Allegri praised Juventus for their ability to fight back against Atalanta in a 3-3 thriller, but also ‘remain concentrated’ in the wake of a 15-point Serie A penalty. ‘It feels like having what you achieved taken away.’

This was the first game for the Bianconeri since they were docked 15 Serie A points for inflated transfer fees to boost capital gains and balance the books.

Allegri started out with a joke after seeing the DAZN studio was also linked with lawyer Mattia Grassani, who works for Napoli, explaining the issues around the case.

“I wish to compliment the lawyer for his tie. A wonderful Azzurri blue,” grinned the coach, much to the amusement of Grassani.

“I am from Livorno, so we prefer to laugh and be ironic, but at the same time speak the truth when others don’t quite understand what we mean, so that’s marvellous.”

The mood was not helped when Ademola Lookman scored thanks to a Wojciech Szczesny howler in the opening five minutes, but they turned it around to lead 2-1 by the break with Angel Di Maria’s penalty and Arek Milik.

Atalanta went 3-2 up through Joakim Maehle and a Lookman free header, until Danilo’s free kick routine sealed the 3-3 scoreline.

“Unfortunately, the only thing we got badly wrong this season was in the Champions League. Removing the Salernitana VAR error, we would’ve had 40 points.”

This was referring to a technical error in the draw with Salernitana when Milik’s winner was disallowed for offside because of a blind spot on the VAR cameras that missed Antonio Candreva keeping everyone level.

“The lads played well against a talented, physical Atalanta side, it was not easy to remain concentrated, but they showed professionalism, responsibility and the desire to continue the work we started.

“We have to keep doing our work, which is on the pitch. We must thank the players for what they did this evening, because I realise it is psychologically damaging to see yourself go from second or third place into 10th, it feels like having what you achieved taken away. The players and the staff who worked around them are to be congratulated.”

Allegri continued to hand out both praise and criticism to his players, who won eight in a row with clean sheets only to then lose 5-1 at Napoli and here draw 3-3 with Atalanta.

“I am happy with the reaction on the field, but unfortunately errors were costly. It could’ve ended 5-2 if we lost our mental focus, but we stayed in the game and got it back with Danilo, who is having an extraordinary season and I am glad the goal cancelled out his error at the start of the second half.

“We also had that chance with Miretti, who is very talented, but needs to improve what he does inside the box. He’s had a fair few chances to score now and needs to be calm, because time is on his side. Fagioli did really well, so did Bremer, who basically didn’t turn up the last couple of games.”

Allegri was asked where Juventus dreamed up the Danilo free kick routine, noting it was rather old-fashioned.

“Football is so complicated now, we have to do strange things to get the advantage. Danilo can hit it really hard, that was the secret!”

Juve need an extraordinary comeback in the second half of the season to secure a top four finish after they were docked 15 points, and we still don’t know if there will be more penalties in future.

“I don’t know if we can do it. I think at 71 points, you will probably get into the Champions League. It’s tough, but we have Serie A, the Coppa Italia, the Europa League, so take it one step at a time. It’s impossible to think that far in the future.

“We had 38 points, minus two that were taken away, so we would’ve been up there in front of the others. The fact remains, Napoli are having an extraordinary season.”