TURIN (Reuters) - Juventus must rediscover their identity for the final two Serie A games of the year, coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday, as the Turin club prepare to conclude a disappointing first half of the season.
Allegri's side began the campaign with hopes of reclaiming the league crown they surrendered last season, but are seventh after 17 games, 12 points behind leaders and defending champions Inter Milan.
Juve suffered another setback by drawing 1-1 at relegation battlers Venezia last weekend and have often struggled against the teams below them, like Saturday’s opponents, midtable Bologna.
“We need to find ourselves again in these next two games. In January we have four or five big games,” Allegri told a news conference.
“We need to get all our players back and do the best we can in the second half of the season. We need to work with confidence.”
Allegri revealed that top scorer Paulo Dybala will not be risked after some fatigue, while Federico Chiesa and Danilo are also out and Giorgio Chiellini is doubtful.
“We are struggling to finish the chances we create and we are looking to improve that. But you need to do it calmly, these problems must be faced without being alarmed,” he said.
“We are aware we are behind in the league table, but we have 21 matches to sort that out.”
Juve host Cagliari next Tuesday before a two-week winter break, but start 2022 with a bang by taking on Napoli, AS Roma and AC Milan in the league in January, when the transfer window re-opens for a month.
“The transfer market won’t resolve what we need to resolve, our finishing. The squad is excellent, but we need to improve in some aspects and be more clinical,” Allegri said.
“We keep our matches open too much and it is normal that there are games, like against Venezia, where you can concede a goal with their first shot on target. This is why you need to be good at taking your chances.”
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)