Massimiliano Allegri regretted that Juventus only revived after being “slapped” during a 1-0 loss to Sassuolo.
On Sunday, Juventus lost to Grégoire Defrel, suffering their second defeat in a row in Serie A and their third defeat in four away league matches.
The defeat left Juventus to defend a 1-0 lead against Sporting CP in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg, sitting in seventh place and nine points behind AC Milan in the Champions League final.
Almost never threatening to fall behind, Juventus fired up in the latter stages. Andrea Consigli saved a great header from Adrien Rabiot and Ángel Di Maria converted a great opportunity.
But that wasn’t enough to ease Allegri’s frustration as the Juventus manager told DAZN: “We didn’t play well for an hour and then reacted to the slap on the goal.
“It was an important game for the standings, but it was the second defeat in a row in the league.
“We have to get back on our feet, work on our mistakes and change the approach to matches. All we can do is keep quiet, work hard and draw the last drop of energy to beat Sporting.
“I told the players that this is an important step. Instead, we lost points.”
23 – In the second half of the current Serie A season, only Napoli (25) and Lazio (24) have scored more points than Sassuolo (23 in 11 games). Break through.#SassuoloJuventus #SeriesA
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 16, 2023
Paul Pogba made only his fourth appearance of the season, all of which came off the bench after his return with a calf injury that kept him out for over six months.
However, Allegri said the France midfielder was still far behind what Juventus had hoped for.
“There are players like Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba who are getting back in shape, while others have played a lot more and are tired,” Allegri added.
“I have seen improvements from Pogba but he is still far behind schedule and unable to play 90 minutes.
“We will try to gradually bring him up to 30 minutes and see how he reacts.”