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Allegri: Juventus must improve defensive movement

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Manager’s comments ahead of big Champions League clash against Barcelona

Juventus v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus host Barcelona tomorrow seeking to gain a measure of revenge from the first leg of their Champions League group stages clash. The title of Group D winner is still up for grabs and the Bianconeri will be well-motivated knowing that a win will tie the two sides on points.

Speaking to the media during the pre-match press conference, Massimiliano Allegri said -

“Tomorrow the tactical system will depend on how we move in defence and attack.

“We lost two games in Serie A (against Lazio and Sampdoria) and analysing the first part of the season, we need to improve our defensive movements, because we have conceded too many goals. It’s not just a system, but who we field and the characteristics of the players.”

Despite the loss this weekend, he doesn’t think there’s a crisis at Juve.

“In football, it’s results that count and not performances. We must be quicker to react, but Juve don’t have any big problems. We’ve scored 37 goals and conceded 14, it takes balance, and recently Juve always managed to mess something up and then recover.

“Barcelona conceded only two goals in 14 games, scoring 22. They are very balanced, defend well and it’ll be even more difficult for us. Having said that, it’s all open and we can qualify either tomorrow or in Athens.

“Juventus can reach the Final again. First of all, let’s get past the group stage, then we can talk again in March.”

At Nou Camp, Juventus were overwhelmed 3-0 by Barca back in September.

“I thought we had a good first half. The strange characteristic this season is that when we didn’t keep a clean sheet, we always conceded two or three goals. We must defend and attack without splitting the team in two.”

Allegri went on criticizing Sami Khedira, days after accusing him of losing concentration on Sunday against Sampdoria.

“Khedira made too many runs forward when we went a goal behind and he left Miralem Pjanic isolated. Tomorrow I must decide whether to play Mario Mandzukic, Blaise Matuidi or Douglas Costa. Federico Bernardeschi is injured.”

Comparisons between Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala continue unabated.

“Dybala will start tomorrow. He is 23 years old and he started out scoring many goals, then had a dip, because that’s natural in the growth process. They are two very different players and move differently too.

“They have completely different physical as well as technical characteristics, as Messi is an explosive player and Dybala is more aerodynamic. Whether they can play together is not my problem!

“Messi is the only player in the world who knows how to turn and pass the ball where nobody else can. We must defend well as a unit. If the whole team doesn’t help out, it’s difficult to mark him.

“We are facing a side of great talent and quality, so need a super performance to bring home a positive result.”