Europe Calling but Massimiliano Allegri Wants Juventus Success at Home
Massimiliano Allegri hopes Juventus can maintain the form they showed during the 2-0 win over Sevilla on Wednesday for the rest of the Serie A season.
It was a night for matching a Champions League club record but Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri quickly demanded his embattled side overhaul their poor league form and get back to the business of winning in Serie A.
Juventus welcomed Europa League champions Sevilla to Turin on Wednesday looking to prove that the poor domestic form that has seen them slump to 15th in Serie A is simply a blip.
By the end of a completely one-sided encounter that saw the hosts emerge 2-0 winners over the listless Spaniards thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and Simone Zaza, Juve's fans breathed a sigh of relief as the Italian champions went top of the group three points ahead of Sevilla and Manchester City.
Less than a month after their shock 2-1 win at City's Etihad Stadium, Juventus are already well on course to qualify for the knockout stages.
All Allegri wants now is to see Juve cut a copy of Wednesday's performance and paste it to the remainder of their Serie A games this season following a miserable start that has left the champions 10 points adrift of leaders Fiorentina.
When asked to explain their contrasting form at home and in Europe, Allegri failed to provide an explanation, saying: "The big difference is we have six points from the Champions League and five from Serie A."
Juventus face struggling Bologna this weekend in what will be their seventh league outing and Allegri added: "Tonight's game is over. Now we have to start focusing our next game, against Bologna."
The fact promoted Bologna are also in the lower reaches of the table reflects the depths to which the confidence of Juventus, who have won the "scudetto" the past four years, has sunk in recent weeks.
Yet in Europe, the "Bianconeri" seem transformed.
Despite Sevilla's own domestic woes, not even the most optimistic Juve fan would have guessed how quickly Unai Emery's injury-hit side was ready to surrender arms.
Juventus were in complete command from the outset. Brazilian Hernanes and striker Paulo Dybala, with a great curling effort, came close early on while midfielder Sami Khedira, making his first appearance since hobbling off 25 minutes into a pre-match friendly with Marseille, was making a great impression on the 32,908 spectators.
Juventus finally broke the deadlock on 41 minutes when Morata rose above the Sevilla defence to meet Juan Cuadrado's delivery from the right byline and beat Rico down low at his far post.
It was Morata's second goal in the competition this season after his late winner in Manchester and means he has now scored at least once in his last five Champions League games -- equalling a record held by retired Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero.
Morata, speaking to Mediaset Premium after the game, said: "I'm delighted to have scored but even happier about our performance and the result.
"We created a few great opportunities tonight but there's still work to be done."
Juventus continued to press for their second goal in an even more dominant second half and Allegri's decision to replace Morata with Zaza in the latter stages paid off handsomely.
Three minutes from the final whistle Dybala did well to hold off two markers to set Zaza on a run from midfield to the edge of the six-yard box where the fledgling Italy striker beat Sergio Rico with a low, angled drive.
It was Zaza's first goal in the competition but he was quick to share the plaudits with the tireless Dybala and Morata.
"I had just come on and wanted to seize my chance... but the goal was mainly down to the hard work of Alvaro and Paulo, who tired the Sevilla defence out with their running," said Zaza.
Morata will look to improve on Del Piero's club record in Juve's next fixture, at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach on October 21.
But before then, he says domestic duty is calling: "We need to get our heads down, keep pushing hard and eventually we'll start getting into those kinds of scoring positions more often in the coming weeks."