Massimiliano Allegri admitted there was increased pressure on Juventus in Tuesday’s Champions League opener but expressed relief after coasting past Malmo 3-0.
Juve were winless in their first three Serie A games but eased to a sixth straight group-stage away win as they continued their unbeaten run against Swedish opposition in Europe.
Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala were both on the scoresheet as the visitors opened the Champions League with a win by a three-plus goal margin for just the second time, the other against Feyenoord in 1997-98.
And Allegri, who returned to the helm in Europe with his side for the first time since April 2019, was relieved following a fixture which came with added pressure due to their poor start.
“When you play in the Champions League, there is always some tension in the build-up, especially when playing away from home,” Allegri told Sport Mediaset.
“There was naturally a little more pressure after three Serie A games in which we didn’t do that well.
“The lads played well on a technical level, we could’ve done better with some situations in the first half. We need to improve, but this doesn’t change the work we started on July 14.
“The psychological aspect is 90 per cent of sport, because when you make individual errors like we did so far this season, it makes us see things negatively.
“Results affect the way your work is judged, but we must do well to retain a balance both in defeat and above all in success.”
2 – This is only the second #UCL match in which Juventus scored with an Argentine (Dybala) and a Brazilian (Alex Sandro): the previous one was in 2016 against Dinamo Zagreb (Higuain, Dybala, Dani Alves). Bongo.#MalmoeJuventus
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 14, 2021
The Bianconeri’s sixth straight group-stage away win stretching back to last season extended upon what was already their longest such run.
Morata has scored six goals in his last six away games in the competition – as many as he had netted in his previous 22 – and he insisted Juve were not worried despite their winless run.
“No, we went through various situations here at Juventus, there weren’t as many positive things as now,” Morata responded to Sport Mediaset post-match when asked if his side were concerned ahead of Tuesday.
“You have to take the good, be positive as a team, as a club, as fans. You have to go on along the same lines.
“We had a serious match, both today and with Napoli, but sometimes football is like that, episodes make you draw or even lose. Today it was essential to win. Now let’s put our heads back on the championship.”