Massimiliano Allegri has admitted that Dusan Vlahovic “struggled” as Juventus were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by local rivals Torino, on an evening where the Bianconeri lost several more players to injury.
Having been linked with a handful of Premier League sides including Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, Vlahovic swapped Fiorentina for Juve in January in a deal worth around £63m. Though he scored on his debut against Hellas Verona, he has now gone three games without a goal.
The Serbian forward will not look back on his first experience of the Derby della Mole with much fondness, having been marked out of the game by Torino defender Gleison Bremer. It was a difficult night for Juve all round, with Matthijs de Ligt’s early opener cancelled out by Andrea Belotti in the second half.
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Speaking to DAZN Italia after the match, Allegri gave Vlahovic some honest feedback on his performance. “Dusan is a very good footballer, but he didn’t have to give Bremer points of reference,” he said.
“He comes from a team where he played once a week, now he is playing six games in two weeks. Tonight it was imperfect, but it’s normal and part of his growth path.”
Speaking to the club website, Allegri added: “Let’s keep to the point this evening: we weren’t brilliant, because we came off the back of intense matches.
“Overall we played a good game, it’s a draw that allows us to extend a positive streak. On evenings like these you need to be technically cleaner, instead we made some mistakes, but it is part of the growth path of the team.
“Vlahovic struggled a bit, but it’s quite normal in this situation, especially playing a game every three days.”
Having lost Daniele Rugani to injury in the warm-up, his replacement Luca Pellegrini had to come off at half time after getting a knock to the knee. More worrying was the early withdrawal of Paulo Dybala, who swapped out for Weston McKennie early in the second half.
“Dybala felt his muscle tightening,” confirmed Allegri. “We’ll see in the next few days [how serious it is].”
Juve remain fourth in Serie A, but have lost further ground on AC Milan, Inter and Napoli above them while opening a window of opportunity for Atalanta in fifth.
With their hopes of a title challenge all but over, they now face a potentially season-defining Champions League tie against Villarreal.
Despite their mounting injury problems ahead of the first leg at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Tuesday evening, De Ligt insisted that there was no cause for alarm.
“We are not worried about the injuries, the team is strong and even those who don’t play a lot, when they come in, do good things,” he said. “Now let’s think about Tuesday.”
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