Massimiliano Allegri holds no regrets over changes for Sampdoria loss
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says he does not regret his decision to leave out Paulo Dybala after his goal came too late to save a much-changed Bianconeri side from falling to a 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria.
Allegri rang the changes after the international break had left its mark physically on Dybala and mentally on players including Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli.
With Juve trailing, Allegri sent Dybala from off the bench and his stoppage-time goal reduced the arrears to 3-2, only moments after Gonzalo Higuain had scored from the penalty spot. There was not enough time to find an equaliser, but Allegri says the defeat was not down to his changes.
"I would make the decisions I made at the start all over again, considering how we played in the first half," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. "Just a few weeks ago, Dybala was being criticised, and now I am being blamed for leaving him out -- it makes me smile."
While satisfied with the performance, Allegri had less to smile about regarding the result, which saw Juve slip to third in Serie A and fall four points behind league leaders Napoli, whom they meet in Naples on Dec. 1.
"It's real shame because we produced one of our best first-half performances of the season," Allegri told Juventus' official website. "After we fell behind, we went gung-ho and were picked off. But, hey, that's football. We're conceding too many goals, especially on the road. We only kept a clean sheet at San Siro.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult season with all of the teams behind us strengthening, but we will know how to be ready at the right time."
Giorgio Chiellini, who unlike his Italy teammates Buffon and Barzagli was not rested on Sunday, is concerned that Juve's winning mentality from previous seasons is ebbing away.
"We need to reflect because we shouldn't be 3-0 down in the 90th minute of a game we've largely been in control of," Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia. "We've often run into difficulty this season in games against tougher opponents and this is an alarm bell which has got to get us thinking, but serenely.
"I think something is lacking individually in all of us. I'm not talking about the technical and tactical, but about that great desire that helped us win games last year and overcome difficulties."
Allegri, however, is convinced that Juve will get back to their best for their upcoming games in the Champions League and Serie A.
"The games against Barcelona and Napoli will be a different story, I'm sure," he said. "There's been no drop off in terms of our intensity in training compared with previous years. The season is long."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.