Soccer-Angry Allegri snaps to defence of Juve striker Morata

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Atalanta - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - November 27, 2021 Juventus' Alvaro Morata REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri angrily leaped to the defence of under fire striker Alvaro Morata on Monday after the Spain international received further criticism for his display in the weekend defeat by Atalanta.

Morata has just two league goals all season and received whistles from his own fans when substituted during Saturday's 1-0 Serie A loss.

"I want to make something clear: on Saturday Morata played one of the best games since the beginning of the season," Allegri told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with Salernitana.

"I think he was among the best on the pitch and judgements must be given objectively. Either I don't understand or there are prejudices against him.

"I don't like it (questions about Morata). About Morata there is a persistence (from the media) and it is not good."

Allegri has endured a miserable campaign since returning to Turin to take charge of Juve for the second time in the close season, with his side seventh in the standings and 14 points behind leaders Napoli after 14 matches.

The clash with bottom side Salernitana represents a fixture Allegri and his team cannot afford further slip-ups in.

"The mood at the moment is that we have taken too long to get going this season," Allegri added.

"Everyone wants to do something more, but now we need to have order. We will get out of it, it takes calm because the more we get excited the more we make a mess for ourselves.

"If we do simple things, then improvement will come as a consequence."

Allegri confirmed Federico Chiesa will be missing until after Christmas with a thigh injury, while American Weston McKennie's knee injury is not as bad as first feared and he could feature on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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