Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri felt his side had made “a big step forward” after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty secured a hard-earned 1-0 win at rivals Torino which extended their unbeaten Serie A run to 16 games.
The Bianconeri produced the required response from the unexpected midweek Champions League defeat at Swiss club Young Boys, coming through what was a tough test in difficult conditions at the Stadio Olimpico.
Ronaldo converted from the spot in the 70th minute after Torino substitute goalkeeper Salvador Ichazo had clattered into Mario Mandzukic.
The Croatian was then denied a goal himself for offside in the build up from a free-kick after a Video Assistant Review, but it did not impact on the final outcome.
Juve’s 15th league victory moves Allegri’s men 11 points clear of Napoli, who are away to Cagliari on Sunday.
“It was a tricky match because it came just three days after our Champions League game, because it was the derby and because Torino are in great form at the moment,” Allegri told a press conference after the match.
“It’s a great result for us and a big step forward.
“Despite playing on a poor pitch, we played well in the second half. We created lots of chances and gave nothing away.”
Allegri praised the way his team had dug in after being stretched by their local rivals in a typically physical derby encounter.
“We struggled a bit too much in the first half, when we were too hurried in possession, partly because of their pressing,” the Juventus boss added.
“Afterwards they dropped off a bit and we grew into the game. We managed to play with more width and play off the forwards.
“The lads read the game well and waited for the right moment to strike. I can have no complaints whatsoever.”
Torino had lost just once in their previous 10 Serie A games to move into the top six.
Defender Cristian Ansaldi feels Walter Mazzarri’s side must quickly regroup and put the disappointment of the derby defeat behind them.
“To lose feels bad, but now we have to get our heads right up and continue on our path to get back to winning,” he said, quoted by the Torino website.
“It’s a pity for the (penalty) incident, but making mistakes can happen to everyone, football is like that – sometimes it rewards you or sometimes it does not.
“Now it is important that our focus is immediately on the next match against Sassuolo.”