Massimiliano Allegri believes Juventus are learning “to strike at the right time” and controlled the tempo in their 1-0 win over Manchester United.
The Bianconeri had 70 per cent possession at Old Trafford in the first half, but eventually only scored the Paulo Dybala effort and ran one risk late on with Paul Pogba’s strike off the upright.
It was reminiscent of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Genoa, where they seemed to relax into a 1-0 lead and were caught out by a rare opportunity for the opposition.
Juve are now runaway leaders on top of Group H with nine points compared to Manchester United on four, Valencia two and Young Boys one.
“Against Genoa we stopped a bit too early and were rightly punished. This evening we allowed a few chances when losing the ball cheaply and we should’ve been faster at moving the ball around, but when the players were static, the ball was too.
“Nonetheless, it was a good team performance and we deserved the victory,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
“We won a lot of balls in the air, Alex Sandro played it simple and did very well in defence. We controlled the tempo in the first half and had chances to score more goals, getting the final or penultimate pass wrong, but the build-up was largely correct.”
Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira, Emre Can and Leonardo Spinazzola were out injured.
“Naturally we can play without Mandzukic, someone has to get into the box. It was important against Manchester United to keep the ball to ground and attack around Nemanja Matic.
“We still make too many mistakes on the final ball, as we had so many more chances and half-chances that we didn’t develop properly. A couple of times it was the player with the ball, another couple it was the player who didn’t peel away from his marker to reach the space.”
Considering the confidence of this performance, are Juventus favourites to win the Champions League?
“There has been a constant growth process throughout the team and the club. Games must be read and there are times where you don’t need to lunge forward. We didn’t read it properly against Genoa, but this evening the team proved it can read the moments and strike at the right time.”