Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has told his title-chasing players they must set aside the shock of crumbling against Milan as they prepare to tackle a dangerous Atalanta side.
A torrid Tuesday at San Siro saw Juventus lead 2-0 before folding in the final 30 minutes to lose 4-2 against Stefano Pioli’s Rossoneri.
Third-placed Atalanta have the capacity to tear into any team and Sarri admits he simply does not have time to analyse in detail why leaders Juve lost their way so badly in midweek.
The solution, he suggested in a news conference on Friday, is simply to move on and try to forget about that abject surrender.
“If the match against Milan had happened earlier on, the priority would be to go in search of the causes,” head coach Sarri said.
“Given that we are in the final stages, the priority becomes ensuring that it doesn’t have a negative impact. We have to look forward immediately.”
There is still every reason for Juve to be positive, given they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Lazio heading into the weekend.
And with seven rounds of games to play, it would take a sustained slump for them to be caught.
“Right now, almost all teams struggle to have continuity for 90 minutes and what I would like to see is organisation, which in certain moments is decisive,” said Sarri.
In preaching the message that Juve need to bring level heads to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday, Sarri knows any wobble could be punished.
The Bianconeri capitalised when Atalanta lost their way when the teams met in Bergamo back in November, the hosts surging ahead early in the second half before Gonzalo Higuain’s double and Paulo Dybala’s late goal gave Juve a 3-1 victory.
“In the away match Atalanta held a very intense rhythm for 55 minutes but then they likely couldn’t hold it for the final stages,” Sarri said.
“I think we’ll see a different type of match this time around.
“This is an important phase of the season. Atalanta are the real deal and are doing really well and their stats reflect that, especially away from home. They’re a very difficult opponent and have been for some time.”
Dybala returns from a suspension this weekend. Sarri said he doubted whether the Argentinian would have been able to prevent the “blackout” that Juve suffered in Milan.