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Allegri: I saw the right spirit and heart

Manager’s comments after scoreless draw in Champions League game

Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Juventus were held 0-0 against Barcelona as the visitors sealed the top spot in their Champions League group while Juve travel to Olympiacos needing a win to guarantee qualification to the knockout rounds.

After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media -

“It was a wonderful game on a tactical level, our first 0-0 of the season and we did it against a Barcelona side that defends very well this season.

“If we had been a bit quicker in the transitions, we would’ve had more favourable opportunities, but in the second half they stopped us doing that. We had the Douglas Costa shot and the final save on Paulo Dybala.

“It’s an important point, as it allows us to go to Olympiacos and play a game where a point is not enough, we need a win, or can go through with a defeat depending on what happens in Barcelona.”

With Giorgio Chiellini out injured, Juve played a new 3-4-2-1 formation -

“The lads did very well, so rather than have a full-back who would push up, I moved to three at the back with Andrea Barzagli static. It was the same players, as we had Juan Cuadrado, Alex Sandro and Douglas Costa, so it wasn’t a negative approach.

“I told the players that I was not interested in the result tonight, but in the performance. I saw the right spirit and heart, as when Juve defend in a certain way all together, it’s tough for us to concede goals.”

Sporting CP won 3-1 and play at Barcelona in the last round of games, while Juve go to Greece -

“I said at the start that to get through this group, we needed at least eight points. Sporting won the opener in Greece and messed up my calculations and we might need 12 points.

“It’s strange, as last season we didn’t lose a Champions League game until the Final. The year before we conceded very few as well, but every year is different. We had to start from scratch today, as (in Sunday’s 3-2 Serie A defeat) against Sampdoria we let in goals that Juventus cannot concede. The focus was higher against Barcelona tonight, so we didn’t concede.”

Today’s result was an improvement on the 3-0 loss at Camp Nou in September.

“We had a very good first half away to Barcelona, probably with better chances than we had tonight, but then we conceded on the stroke of half-time on a counter-attack. We melted in the first half with an extraordinary Leo Messi.

“It’s almost impossible to find time to train at the moment. We want to improve the quality of the football and our scoring opportunities, but we did improve the defence and I am glad about that. We might be less beautiful, but we are becoming more solid. The more you go on without conceding, the more confidence you have and the more chances you will create.

“We have to work on playing out from the back, as we made too many mistakes.”