Massimiliano Allegri has defended his decision to leave Gonzalo Higuain out of the starting XI as Juventus surprisingly lost 2-1 to Inter on Sunday.
The Argentina international, signed for a club-record fee of €90million from Napoli in July, netted three goals in his first three Serie A appearances for the Bianconeri and started at home to Sassuolo last week.
But he was back on the bench in the Derby d’Italia at San Siro, where the reigning champions gave up the lead to suffer their first defeat of 2016-17.
Allegri was quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport as justifying his team selection, saying: “Why [did I leave] Higuain out?
“I thought about playing a physical game and I needed him when the match was in progress,” he added, having introduced the former Real Madrid player in the 74th minute.
“I am convinced that the initial squad was right.
“But If I leave out [Mario] Mandzukic, you’ll ask about him.”
Juve, who trail Higuain’s former club Napoli by one point at the top of the Serie A table, are at home to Cagliari on Wednesday.