Cristiano Ronaldo gives Juventus “a lot of confidence”, says Massimiliano Allegri, with the Bianconeri “doing much better” than they were at the start of the season.
Though they did not drop points until October, the reigning Serie A champions were not at their best early on in 2018-19, much like their marquee summer signing.
Form has been built slowly, though, and Ronaldo is now delivering the kind of contribution expected from a five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The Portuguese provided the assist for Mario Mandzukic’s match winner against Valencia on Tuesday, with a narrow win enough to carry Juve through to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Allegri told Sky Sport Italia afterwards: “Cristiano Ronaldo? He gives us a lot of confidence and he helps us achieve the results that we want.”
Juve have suffered just one defeat across all competitions this season, to Manchester United, with the dominant outfit in Italian football displaying ominous signs to those hoping to chase them down.
“We have been doing much better and we have been improving all year long,” added Allegri.
A battling display against Valencia highlighted those qualities, with the Bianconeri doing enough to contain the threat of a dangerous opponent while making a decisive breakthrough in the final third.Getty
“They are a good team who are in good physical shape,” said Allegri.
“It isn't easy to score goals against them, they have the best defensive record in La Liga pretty much.
“We did concede a few counter-attacks to them but we did pretty well overall. I really liked our second half that's for sure and we surely deserved to win.
“We did suffer a bit in the first half but then we picked things up in the second half.
“Valencia are a very good team and they play a similar style of play compared to Atletico Madrid.”
On another night of many positives for Juve, the only disappointment was seeing a key defender forced off at half-time through injury.
“Alex Sandro? He picked up a small knock,” Allegri confirmed when discussing his Brazilian full-back.
There is enough depth to the ranks in Turin to cover that blow and they will return to domestic action against Fiorentina on Saturday in buoyant mood.