TURIN: Juventus face an important test in the battle for top spot in Champions League Group H against Chelsea, Massimiliano Allegri said on Monday, but the head coach admitted his side are still struggling for goals since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Italians head to London having already qualified for the last-16 with a perfect record after four games, sitting three points ahead of the English Premier League side.
But Chelsea, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Juve in Turin in September, are aiming to knock Allegri’s side off top spot and could have record signing Romelu Lukaku back from injury to help their cause.
“Tomorrow (Wed 4am Malaysian time) we face off for first place against a team that’s on top of the Premier League and won the Champions League last season,” Allegri told a news conference.
“With Lukaku they play in a different way. Without him they have fewer reference points and more counter-attacking players. It’ll be an important test for us.”
Juve have struggled domestically this season, winning six of their 13 matches, including a 2-0 victory over Lazio in Rome on Saturday, to sit eighth in Serie A.
Their top scorer this season is Paulo Dybala, with six goals across all competitions, but Allegri said that the Argentina international’s involvement is doubtful as he continues his recovery from injury.
The coach demanded more from his team in attack as they continue to struggle for goals since last season’s Serie A top-scorer Ronaldo left for Manchester United in the off-season.
“We must improve our finishing. We’re creating good chances and making mistakes with the final ball,” Allegri said.
“In Rome we ran risks by not finishing our chances and then allowing counter-attacks. We’ve scored 18 goals and conceded 15 (in Serie A), we need to find more goals as a team.”
He added: “Everywhere Cristiano has gone, he’s always been the top scorer. We have a lot of players who can score goals, but at the moment we aren’t finding them.” – Reuters
Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. – Reuterspix