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Allegri: This is a key moment of Juventus’ season

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Manager’s comments after ten-man Juve romp in Udine

Udinese Calcio v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

Juventus showed some grit today, coming back from behind first and then overcoming a needless red card to thump hosts Udinese 6-2. After conceding an early goal, Juve came back to lead 2-1 before Mario Mandzukic was sent off for what the referee deemed a dive, and then dissent.

After the game manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media, and thanked Manzukic tongue-in-cheek.

“I wanted to rest Mandzukic for the next game anyway. In fact, I want to thank him, because we had to get back to winning games by defending and suffering for the result, so we can only thank him.”

On the team’s effort on the day after a draw and loss before this in the Serie A -

“Over the last two games we had decent performances, but we needed something like this. Down to 10 men, the team was much more focused.

“I said beforehand that this was a key moment in the season, as it would allow us to close up on the leaders. A negative result tonight would’ve been really difficult to swallow. Our fitness levels are growing, players are returning from injury and it’ll be important going forward.”

Sami Khedira was the hero of the day, showcasing his attacking abilities with a hattrick that took the game away from the hosts.

“Sami Khedira’s presence has also helped Miralem Pjanic in midfield. The first year, Khedira was with Pogba and he would push forward when he felt it necessary, but we are a different team now, much more attack-minded.”

Juve play AC Milan next weekend, but former player Leonardo Bonucci will not be playing following his suspension for elbowing Genoa’s Aleandro Rosi.

“Bonucci had seven seasons at Juventus, I would’ve liked to see him against us, because it’s always better to take on the strongest opponents.”

Club captain Gianluigi Buffon was very complimentary of the effort put forward by Gonzalo Higuain today -

“We have to take on the best aspect of this, which was the character, tenacity and desire to overcome obstacles.

“We are well aware that we have to improve. I am on the pitch to do my job, so I didn’t do anything exceptional this evening. What I really loved was the attitude of Higuain, whose performance was worthy of praise. The Coach should make the others watch videos of Higuain and how he played today to motivate players.

Daniele Rugani also did very well with a goal and an assist. It wasn’t easy for him and Giorgio Chiellini, especially after we went down to 10 men, but they did a great job.

“I won’t change my mind, though, as I maintain that you don’t win titles with 6-2 victories. We’ll take it today due to the unusual circumstances, but we still need to improve.

“I believe we are a team that need to feel under a certain amount of pressure to give our best. We’ve got to use that positive energy and keep it going forward for the next games.”