Juventus picked up a 1-0 win over Verona at the Allianz Stadium and it wasn’t the first time that they put in a performance like that to get all three points. Wins like those have become a trademark for the Bianconeri and for Allegri, having become a key aspect of their revival.
Not long ago, Juve were in crisis. Closer to relegation than the top four, the Old Lady had a 15-point deduction imposed on them and there was talk about not just Allegri’s potential exit, but a complete backroom reshuffle took place. There was talk of the Juve players not being happy with Allegri’s style of play and a host of players were said to have lost faith in the Italian. Everything and that is by no means a stretch – everything, was going wrong for Juve.
But Allegri has not been a stranger to recoveries and he managed to come up with one as recently as last season. He managed to take the club to a top four finish, despite all the grumbles surrounding his playing style and talk about overpeforming players. And Allegri has done it again, imposing a seige mentality, making sure that Juve get back to basics and grinding out tight wins.
Losses to Napoli and Monza have been problematic, but playing on fine margins means that sustainability isn’t at a peak. But there have been seven 1-0 wins in the season and with Dušan Vlahović not amongst the goals, Federico Chiesa struggling with injuries and Paul Pogba having played only 30 minutes across the season, they still managed to find a way. Angel di Maria has been superb but he has also had fitness issues and the same applies to Arek Milik.
Yet somehow, despite all the issues, Allegri’s side find themselves only four points behind the top-four and in a couple of weeks, they could well be closer. Founded on game management that revolves around not conceding, Allegri’s side have managed to find ways to nick goals and he has had experienced players on his side, while moulding the younger players such as Fabio Miretti, Matias Soule and Nicolo Fagioli into the side.
Leandro Paredes, who was meant to lay down the system for Allegri, has been poor. But Allegri has not looked at the have-nots and has focused on what he has. That is perhaps the biggest compliment one can give to him.
The season may yet end with disappointment, but Allegri has shown that he has handled the crisis perfectly. There was a point in the season when Juve were a goal down to Monza and the Bianconeri fans were abusing Allegri from the stands. He had to be escorted by the police as there was a potential danger to his safety. From those ugly scenes, Allegri has somehow united the club again. And for that, Juve fans should be eternally grateful. It could have been much worse.
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN