Massimiliano Allegri had to lament Juventus’ “slow and static” defense after Napoli pulled out a dramatically late winner at the Allianz Stadium.
The generally boring struggle was decided in the third minute of stoppage time, when Giacamo Raspadori brought the escaping Serie A leaders closer to conquering the Scudetto with a roaring volley.
The Juventus defense was caught off guard when Luciano Spalletti’s team took all three points and Allegri admitted he expected higher standards from his players.
“It’s a shame to lose in a game like this, but we should have scored better,” he told DAZN. “We just stopped playing and we absolutely need to do better in that sense.
“It’s simple, you just look at the move, we are in the 93rd minute and we need to have bodies in the box for defense.
“This is part of the player growth process and we take it for granted. In that situation, we were too slow and static to react to the ball.”
In the last 20 minutes, Juventus had two goals off, Angel Di Maria and Dusan Vlahovic missed, but Allegri refused to blame referee Michael Fabbri as a result.
“We need to remain calm, take, as always, refereeing decisions – good or bad,” added the head coach. “Otherwise we lose energy because we cannot change the result now.
“Today the referee was very good, I congratulate him on his performance.”
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It was the Bianconeri’s first league outing since the 15-point deduction was abolished, moving them up to third in the table with 59 points, three more than Roma and Milan, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.
However, Juventus are still 19 points behind Napoli and, while appreciating the attitude of his players towards difficulties, Allegri is hopeful that they can close the gap and start the title challenge next season.
“It’s a surreal situation we’re in and the guys were great,” he said.
“We had some difficulties this season, especially after the 15-point penalty. We still have a lead over Milan and Inter, so now we have to get the missing points.
“This season will help us grow a lot and next year we will be back to fight for the Scudetto.”