Allegri hails Fagioli's fantastic finish as Juventus extend Serie A winning run

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Massimiliano Allegri hailed Nicolo Fagioli's "great quality" after the young Juventus midfielder hit a stunning goal to earn a 1-0 victory at Lecce.

If head coach Allegri was feeling mounting pressure during a tense, largely drab game at the Stadio Via del Mare, that was lifted at least briefly when substitute Fagioli whipped a brilliant strike past Wladimiro Falcone.

The 73rd-minute winner means Juventus have strung together three consecutive victories and clean sheets in Serie A for the first time since February 2021.

Those wins have come against Torino, Empoli and Lecce, rather than the elite, but with Juventus mired in injury trouble any win is welcome just now as they cling to top-four aspirations.

They are heading out of the Champions League and may even fall short of parachuting into the Europa League, with Allegri's second season of his second spell in charge not going to plan.

Yet amid the gloom, a new hero emerged. Fagioli became the first player born in 2001 onwards to score for Juventus in Serie A, with the 21-year-old settling a game that would otherwise not have lived long in the memory.

Indeed, the total expected goals (xG) tally for Saturday's game was just 0.81, taking both teams into account.

The xG metric considers the quality of a team's chances and their likelihood of scoring, and this combined tally was the lowest of all matches so far in Serie A this season.

For the winner, Samuel Iling had been on the field for just 41 seconds when he fed a short pass to the roving Fagioli, who turned sharply and fired from the left of goal into the top far corner.

"Nicolo has great quality," Allegri told DAZN. "His path was particular. He was a bit bastardised in the role, and he still has to learn to play in front of the defence because he never did it, but Iling was also very good in assisting. All the guys were good."

Juventus are missing a string of stars due to injury, including Dusan Vlahovic, Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa, and it was a much-weakened side that faced Lecce, Allegri deploying more youngsters than is ideal.

Fagioli came on for the start of the second half in place of Weston McKennie, who had been poor before the break.

"The idea was to send Fagioli to the pitch during the game when their intensity dropped," Allegri said. "In football and in life you get up. Everything can not always go wrong, nor always is everything well.

"And just when things go wrong you have to be mentally strong and be good at weathering the storm. Healthy madness must always be maintained, only rationality does not make its way."

Home captain Morten Hjulmand hit the foot of the left post in the closing moments with a skidding shot from 20 yards, Lecce's best effort of the game in which they failed to put a shot on target.

The result will come as a relief to all involved at Juventus, including vice-president Pavel Nedved, who said ahead of the game that Allegri continues to have the club's full support.

Italian media have speculated Juventus could look to bring Antonio Conte back to the club at the end of the season, when his Tottenham contract expires.

However, Nedved offered some reassurance regarding the board's backing, telling DAZN before kick-off: "Our position does not change: Allegri has the full confidence of the club and of the players themselves.

"I think it is normal that when the results do not arrive many names come up and many others will come out, but I repeat our position does not change."