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Massimiliano Allegri said Juventus could not keep thinking of Cristiano Ronaldo after the struggling Serie A giants crashed into a shock loss against Empoli without the Manchester United-bound superstar.
Without Ronaldo, as he gets closer to returning to Premier League challengers United, Allegri’s Juve were scored 1-0 by visitors and newly promoted Empoli in Turin on Saturday.
Mancuso’s strike lifted Empoli to a surprise victory and sentenced Juve to an unbeaten start to the season after last week’s draw against Udinese.
Juve have failed to win one of their first two in the competition for the third time in the last 52 Serie A seasons-after doing so in 2010-11 and 2015-16, and head coach Allegri was asked five times Ballon d ‘Gold winner Ronaldo’s exit post game.
“Cristiano spent three years at Juventus, he scored goals which he is very good at, he is an exceptional player but we can not think of Ronaldo from now on,” Allegri told DAZN.
“I have a great team, we simply have to realize that we can not just dominate every game.
“We have to get together and it will help us in the future.
“I’m always optimistic.”
3 – Juventus have failed to win each of their first two Serie A season matches only for the third time in their last 52 top-flight campaigns (after 2010/11 and 2015/16). Trouble.#Series A. #JuveEmpoli pic.twitter.com/nhhdIzSd7W
– OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 28, 2021
Ronaldo joined Juve from Real Madrid in 2018 and remained an ultra-reliable frontman for the Italian giants, scoring 81 goals in 98 Serie A matches.
The 36-year-old scored 29 league goals last season and 36 across all competitions. In 2020-21, only four players across Europe’s top five leagues scored more goals than his 36-goal move.
Ronaldo also contributes far less in other areas of the pitch than in his best years. He won just six tackles last season, and only three in the league. Only five strikers with five goals or more in Serie A last season won fewer. In his 60-goal third season in Madrid, Ronaldo won 33 tackles.
The Portuguese captain made 73 posts in open play across all competitions, and 64 came in the league, the fifth highest overall of a five-goal-plus Serie A striker, but that number is far from what the former Sporting CP produced at the height of his career. In his last season at United (2008-09), he put 197 open crosses and he topped 100 in each of his first three seasons at Madrid (2009-10 to 2011-12).
He continues to produce excellent numbers, but he no longer far exceeds his expected goals (xG) and has instead almost exactly matched them in every season while at Juventus (2018-19: 28 goals from 28.3 xG; 2019-20: 37 goals from 35.84 xG; 2020-21: 36 goals from 35.34 xG).
Meanwhile, Juve have lost two consecutive Serie A home games against promoted teams for the first time in their top-flight history.
Juve have also lost two league games in a row against promoted teams (Benevento in March and Empoli on Saturday) for the first time since 1999.
Bianconeri have conceded in each of their last 16 league games – only twice in their Serie A history have they been on a longer streak without a clean sheet: 19 in April 2010 and 21 in October 1955