Turin, Italy (Reuters) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri apologised for his side’s performance at Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and called for improvement ahead of a key month in their season.
Serie A’s most successful club have been disappointing since Allegri returned to take charge in the close season. They sit eighth in the standings after 13 games, 11 points behind leaders Napoli.
Their season went from bad to worse as they lost 4-0 at Chelsea – their biggest defeat in all competitions since a 4-0 Serie A loss against AS Roma in February 2004.
“We are sorry for the defeat in London, we are Juventus and it’s never good to make such a bad impression,” Allegri told a news conference on Friday ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Atalanta.
“The team played a good first half, the game was balanced until minute 55. Perhaps we played a better first half than the game in Turin (when they beat Chelsea 1-0). We melted after their second goal.
“Atalanta are a physical team, they score many goals, but they concede as much, so we need a good game in attack and defence. We need to be clinical.”
Saturday’s visitors to Turin, Atalanta, started the season slowly but have clicked into gear in recent matches, finding their scoring touch once more, while going six unbeaten in the league.
Allegri, however, is planning for even further ahead as he looks to turn things around in Turin.
“Tomorrow is an important match, but not decisive, we have an important month ahead,” he added. “The next six games are crucial.
“The problem is that we didn’t make good results against the smaller clubs. The lads were a bit sad after the defeat in London, but yesterday they trained really well.
“We need a general path to improve the individual players and the team. We can’t look at the past, we need to get to March in good shape, a new season will begin in March.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)