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Allegri unhappy with Juventus defending

Massimiliano Allegri has criticised Juventus' defensive performances in the first half of the season and has demanded more from his team at the back.

The reigning Serie A champions have conceded 14 times in 17 games before the winter break and looked particularly vulnerable in the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Genoa.

Allegri has now acknowledged the league leaders have not been good enough in defence and has urged his side to step up their game.

"I have asked the players to focus only on our own results, developing the quality of our play and above all, improving the way we manage the closing stages of matches," the Juventus coach said at a news conference.

"Being in possession of the ball does not equate to being in control and on this front, we can do much better.

"We have conceded 14 goals in 17 games and that means that we are presenting too many opportunities to our opponents."

Allegri will be hoping Juventus look better in defence in Sunday's home game against Bologna, with Andrea Barzagli set to return to the starting XI after shrugging off a shoulder problem.

"Chances are we will line up with four at the back for Bologna," said Allegri. 

"Either [Patrice] Evra or [Kwadwo] Asamoah will slot in down the left side and Barzagli will probably feature too, he has made a full recovery from his shoulder problem.

"Alex Sandro and [Leonardo] Bonucci are set to return in midweek for the Coppa Italia.

"In attack, [Paulo] Dybala will almost certainly start the match but I'm yet to decide on who will play with him. Paulo will be crucial part of our plans for the second half of the campaign."

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