Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri will embrace the upcoming international break after Alvaro Morata and Sami Khedira inspired the stuttering Italian champions to their first league home win of the season on Sunday.
Juventus, the Serie A and Italian Cup champions, had slumped to 15th place after opening their title defence with a home defeat against Udinese before being held in Turin by Chievo and newly-promoted Frosinone.
Combined with away defeats to Roma and Napoli, Allegri’s men made ther worst start to the season in over four decades, leading to speculation the Italian coach — who steered the Turin giants to last season’s Champons League final — might be shown the door.
Allegri only held on to his job, according to reports, thanks to Juve’s strong form in the Champions League.
With an away win at Manchester City (2-1) and a home victory (2-0) over Sevilla last week, the Bianconeri sit top of Group D with a three point cushion.
On Sunday, fans must have been fearing it was deja vu when Anthony Mounier’s strike rolled past Gianluigi Buffon in the fifth minute, although the ‘keeper’s blunder was plain to see.
But a superb header from Morata levelled the game on 33 minutes and, after Paulo Dybala’s 53rd minute penalty, Khedira wrapped up the points with his maiden league goal for the club 10 minutes later to restore fans’ belief.
Asked if the upcoming break for international football was unwelcome, Allegri said: “Absolutely not. We need to recover physically and recover some of our players because the Champions League robs you of energy.
“Thankfully we won our two opening games, now we need to find the same kind of consistency in the league.”
This was Juventus’ worst start to a season since 1968
Amid Juve’s darkest start to a season since the 1968-69 campaign, Morata has been a shining light for the champions, returning from injury recently and scoring for the fifth consecutive time in the Champions League last week against Europa League holders Sevilla.
Khedira, who had played only 25 minutes for Juve in a pre-season friendly with Marseille before hobbling off injured, returned to action against Sevilla and showed some great touches to prompt praise from Allegri.
“He’s world class,” said the Italian after Wednesday’s 2-0 home win over the Liga side, who bounced back to defeat Barcelona 2-1 on Saturday.
Allegri didn’t deviate from that opinion after Sunday’s win, when Khedira played his first full league game for the champions.
“At the start of the game he struggled to find the right position and rhythm. But he’s a world class player, he just needs time to find his condition.
“I think he’ll only get better.”
Juventus could remain 10 points behind leaders Fiorentina if La Viola account for Atalanta later Sunday, but Allegri — who still has striker Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Claudio Marchisio on the treatment table — refuses to hit the panic button.
“Thinking about our points deficit doesn’t make sense. We just have to knuckle down and start getting results,” he said.
“We’re missing the points we dropped at home, but we’ll take stock of things at Christmas. As far as the Champions League goes, the next month will be decisive.”
Juventus are next in action in Europe on October 21 when they await Bundeslgia club Borussia Moenchengladbach in Turin.