Juventus’ 2-0 win at Crotone may have come at a cost with head coach Massimiliano Allegri confirming Andrea Barzagli suffered a thigh injury.
Defender Barzagli was introduced with 12 minutes to go but left the field in pain at the full-time whistle and faces tests to judge the severity of the problem.
Second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain wrapped up a clinical win for the champions, who are seven points clear in their hunt for a sixth successive league title.
“Barzagli felt this pain in his thigh,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia. “I hope it’s just some scar tissue that got stretched, but he’ll have tests tomorrow.”
The hosts’ deep defence prevented Juventus from creating many clear chances, but once Mandzukic squeezed in the opener on the hour-mark the result was never in doubt and Allegri said he had expected a tough game.
“Crotone have often conceded goals late on, for example against Fiorentina, Milan and Lazio, so we knew this was going to be difficult and they’d block off all the spaces,” he said.
“We could’ve done better in the speed of our passing in the first half, but we allowed nothing at the back, maintaining sharpness and organisation. We didn’t have enough width down the right, so I tried to introduce strikers who could go one-on-one and it went much better in the second half.”
3 very important points in Crotone! Great job guys!
— Stephan Lichtsteiner (@LichtsteinerSte) February 8, 2017
Marko Pjaca started his first game for Juventus while Miralem Pjanic impressed from the bench, and Allegri said the two midfielders will play key roles for the champions.
“Pjaca did well today and is young, so he will be an important player for the second half of the season,” said Allegri. “I think he can really improve once he gets to understand Italian football.
“In two or three years, I think Pjanic will play in front of the defence. He’s not ready yet, as he’s accustomed to splitting the pitch in two with another midfielder. The roles also require different running and work-rate, so after 50-60 minutes he loses sharpness.”
— Marko Pjaca (@marko_pjaca20) February 8, 2017