An Alvaro Morata brace helped Juventus to a rather comfortable 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Saturday night and the Spaniard was praised by Massimiliano Allegri after the match.
Morata, who scored Juve’s second goal in the first half from the penalty spot, ended Samp’s faint hopes of staging a spectacular late comeback when he nodded into Manuel’s precise cross Locatelli to restore Juve’s two-goal lead with just minutes remaining.
The striker’s brace means he is now the Bianconeri’s top scorer in Serie A with eight goals, overtaking Paulo Dybala and his seven. After a difficult first half of the season, Morata has come into its own since the arrival of Dusan Vlahovic and his fine performance in the Serbian’s absence on Saturday showed the confidence Morata is currently playing with.
Massimiliano Allegri describes Alvaro Morata as one of the best technicians in Europe
Since Vlahovic’s integration into Allegri’s starting XI, Morata has played a different role. Rather than functioning as Juve’s focal point, the Spaniard has been given more freedom from an inside forward position on the left. From there, he can support the leading man, make blistering runs behind and drop into midfield to create overload and provide a progressive option.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen Morata frequently – and effectively – call off his forward position to find space between the lines.
Against Sampdoria, Morata worked in harmony with Moise Kean to establish a healthy dynamic on the front line. The pair complemented each other well, as Kean had one of his most impressive outings of the season.
Allegri acknowledged Kean’s performance saying he had a “good game”, but he was particularly complimentary about Morata.
The Juventus boss said (via @JuveFC): “Morata is one of the best in Europe on a technical level. He struggles with his back to goal, but if he goes diagonally, into space, he does better and brings his characteristics to the table. There are a lot of them.”
Allegri hit the nail on the head with these comments. The main reason for Morata’s misfortunes in their first half of the season and why Juve finally brought in Vlahovic in January was that the manager was forced to deploy him in a role that didn’t suit him. As we noted, he has benefited greatly from Vlahovic’s arrival, emerging as a more dynamic Mario Mandzukic in Allegri’s current setup.
The Spaniard’s resurgence leaves Juventus with a tough decision over their future. His loan to the club expires this summer and although Juve seem keen on signing the striker permanently, they are reluctant to buy him for 35 million euros.
Morata admitted he was unsure about his future at Juventus: “I don’t know if I’ll be at Juventus next season – it’s not for me to decide. I’m proud to be here “, he told DAZN Italy (via fabrice romano).
A big decision awaits Juventus, but surely they choose to keep Morata for the long term?