Massimiliano Allegri has reiterated his belief that Juventus cannot be expected to challenge for the Serie A title this season, insisting a sense of realism is required.
On the back of a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League, Juve slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday.
Paulo Dybala hit the crossbar late on, but Duvan Zapata's strike proved decisive for Atalanta, who won a league game at Juve for the first time since October 1989.
The defeat leaves Juve eighth, and they could be 14 points adrift of leaders Napoli and second-placed Milan by the time the weekend is up.
It marked a third home loss of the campaign for Juve, matching the total number of defeats at the Allianz Stadium across the entirety of 2020-21.
Juve are also seven points off the top four, and Allegri – perhaps risking the ire of the Bianconeri faithful – has claimed a Champions League qualification push is the best the 36-time champions can hope for.
Allegri told DAZN: "I think it's a very good squad, [although] there are moments when we struggle to score goals.
"But people said at the start that this was the strongest squad that simply had to win the Scudetto, and I always noted that was inaccurate.
"We are here to challenge for the top four. I cannot complain to my players after this performance; I can only congratulate their efforts, then the rest is down to those of you who talk for a living.
"I think we must be realistic. If we are in this position after 14 games, it means this is what we are worth right now. There's a long way to go, but in terms of performance, I only saw us get it really wrong against Verona, Sassuolo and Empoli.
"Once we are realistic, we can take the pressure off and work better in a calmer environment. All we can do is try to get the best out of ourselves.
"We are Juventus and people seem to think that means we must automatically be Scudetto favourites. What we need to do is keep working, try to calm down and score some more goals. At this moment, we are struggling to score and, in my view, it's because we have lost that sense of calm and confidence.
"There's no point thinking of ifs and buts. We have to start from scratch, put everything behind us and be prepared to fight it out on level terms with Salernitana [on Tuesday], then add our quality on top."
Juve had 15 attempts against Atalanta, but only two hit the target. Besides Dybala's late free-kick, visiting goalkeeper Juan Musso was not truly troubled.
"We don't make the most of the chances we create. Atalanta had only one shot on goal from our error, and it's the goal that counts," Allegri said.
"There is some anxiety, the players are hasty and rush things, but we must keep working on the performances and try to win games to get that confidence and calm back."