Allegri delighted to prove Juventus critics wrong

Massimiliano Allegri feels Juventus proved their critics wrong by restoring their lead at the top of Serie A on Saturday.

Andrea Pirlo's superb free-kick on the hour and Alvaro Morata's curled effort were enough for Juve to get back to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Empoli.

The champions' success, coupled with Roma's defeat at Napoli earlier in the day, means they are now three points clear of Rudi Garcia's side at the top of the table.

Allegri had come in for criticism from some quarters after Juve were beaten 1-0 by Genoa in midweek, seven days after losing by the same scoreline at Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League.

But the former Milan boss feels their win on Saturday proves those narrow defeats provoked an overreaction.

"I have to take a balanced view and it was unfair to say after two games that Juve had lost all their worth," Allegri told Sport Mediaset.

"I said this season would be balanced. Many of you had already thrown Napoli out to sea, yet they have quality players and if not for two [Gonzalo] Higuain penalty misses would've been right up there with us."

Allegri went on to admit his players were not at their best at Empoli, but praised their professionalism.

"I am satisfied with the second half, but we were too hasty in the first and made many mistakes. I compliment my team, as they stuck with it and didn’t run risks until our growth coincided with Empoli falling off the boil," he added.

"Pirlo broke his duck [for the season] and I think also had a psychological breakthrough with that goal after performances that were not up to his usual standards. He can make the difference on set plays and is improving, as is [Arturo] Vidal."

Juve now face a crucial Champions League return fixture with Olympiacos, and that game's importance is not lost on Allegri.

"It is a do-or-die game, because it would be really difficult to get back into it if we failed to win, but we still have to face it with a relaxed state of mind," he continued.