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. 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 goalkeeper’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 ten 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.”
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 UEFA Champions League last week against UEFA 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.”