Soccer-Juve's Allegri sticks with Szczesny despite costly mistakes

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - U.S. Sassuolo v Juventus - Mapei Stadium - Citta del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia, Italy - September 23, 2023 Juventus' Wojciech Szczesny and Adrien Rabiot look dejected after the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

(Reuters) - Juventus lost their unbeaten start to the season in their 4-2 defeat at Sassuolo at the weekend after errors by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny but manager Massimiliano Allegri is sticking with the Polish international for Tuesday's game with Lecce.

Szczesny was at fault for two of Sassuolo's three goals before an embarrassing stoppage time own goal by Federico Gatti finished off any hope of a Juve comeback on Saturday.

"With Sassuolo it was not a bad performance, but we defended badly and there were single inexplicable errors. At Juventus we have to live with pressure and a sense of responsibility," Allegri told reporters on Monday.

"Gatti must remain serene and calm, he has just started his career. Other mistakes will happen, maybe not like Saturday's but they will happen. Szczesny is a European-level goalkeeper and he had a bad night.

"Szczesny is the starting goalkeeper and tomorrow he will play, aware, however, that (Mattia) Perin is an important keeper."

With experienced players such as Leonardo Bonucci, Juan Cuadrado and Angel Di Maria having left the club, Allegri was questioned about a lack of leadership in the squad.

"We have Danilo, there is Szczesny, and then Alex Sandro even though he is currently injured. Also (Daniele) Rugani who has grown a lot.

"We lost in experience compared to last season, but gained in speed and enthusiasm."

Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic have both scored four goals each in the opening five games, and Allegri must now decide if he can afford to rest one of his key players.

"Chiesa is doing very well, he's much more present in the game. I will need to evaluate. He spent a lot of energy on Saturday, as did Vlahovic."

Juventus, who are in fourth spot five points behind leaders Inter Milan, host unbeaten Lecce, who are one point above Allegri's side in third.

"Lecce are a solid team and (Roberto) D'Aversa is a very good coach. They are playing very well, they have technique and solidity. After surviving relegation last season, they are now doing very well."

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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