This week was one filled with mixed emotions for Juventini. With the Bianconeri coming off a three match win streak in Serie A and travelling to Milan to face our bitter rivals Inter in a big match.
Fans were hoping we had turned the corner with Pirlo's project, after victories against Milan and Sassuolo especially, and could start to go through the gears. That feeling was crushed with a very poor showing that was arguably worse than the drubbing we suffered against Fiorentina. This wasn't just about the loss as there are still plenty of matches to be played but it was how we lost. Getting picked apart by our rivals and playing as if we didn't respect the situation, opponent or ourselves. Leaving the match without scoring a goal and not really having a quality chance until late in the match. Our coach stating we didn't approach the match with the right mentality (yet again).
The 2-0 loss to Inter has left Juventus 10 points behind Milan but with a game in hand. Some saying the race is over for Juventus already but I, as well as many other Juventini, know there is still a lot left to this season and putting together a solid win streak can change things in a hurry, especially as the pressure will mount on those ahead of us. As we were still trying to regroup after that defeat there was another match to think about only 3 days away and against another rival and this time with a trophy up for grabs.
The Supercoppa Italiana against Napoli. With the club and it's supporters having a bad taste in their mouth after the poor performance on the weekend, the club had the opportunity to win a trophy for the 10th straight season and hopefully, reignite the hope that more could come this year. Normally the Supercoppa isn't rated highly in terms of importance but this one was very important for us in my opinion. A coach trying to get a team that's flirting with a complete loss of identity and trying to re-establish a standard of high expectations with an elite mentality has been proving difficult to say the least. Having ground to be made up in the scudetto race, this was one that could've been another big blow to the confidence of this club if we were unable to get that result. Also, the opportunity to lift a trophy while fielding some of these new additions to our team, including our coach, was too big an opportunity to not get after this with everything we had.
We enter match day and still without Sandro and De Ligt, who are sidelined due to covid but then the news breaks of Juan Cuadrado becoming available as he tested negative and travelled on his own to be with the club and was rumoured to start. This proved to be a lift to the club and to be fair to all involved we saw a Juventus that was ready to fight. That they did, in waves, and from every player who stepped on the pitch. Was the game the best from an execution standpoint? Probably not. Were we fortunate a bit? Sure. However, we controlled the majority of the match and rendered a very potent team rather toothless outside of 3 opportunities and found the goals we needed to lift the Supercoppa.
The reaction from Pirlo and the squad was great to see. Watching Pirlo celebrate was great and showed a passion that we saw as a player that I am left wanting to see more of as a coach. Also, great seeing the additions getting a taste of winning. McKennie, Kulusevski, Arthur to name a few. This was a victory which showed the club the standard of where the performances need to be in terms of energy, focus and fight.
Now, it will be up to Pirlo and his players to attempt to maintain that level with the approach in all their remaining matches. Pirlo has made several statements in terms of this teams approach mentally in matches and again the question will be asked if we can do this consistently. We thought that turning point was possibly after Torino, it wasn't. We thought possibly after beating Milan and breaking their long unbeaten streak, it wasn't. Now this Supercoppa victory we ask again...Is this the turning point? Time will tell and it begins this weekend with a match against Bologna and then the Coppa Italia match against Spal. Chiesa out with injury which will apparently open the door for Bernardeschi to start on the weekend and we of course continue to monitor the situtions of Sandro and De Ligt as they will hoepfully test negative for Covid this week and re join the squad.
Will we see another Jekyll and Hyde week or will we begin to get stronger and grow? What do you think?
Fino Alla Fine Forza Juventus!
Alberto - All JuveCast