Juventus won 2-0 away at Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final with a brace from Gonzalo Higuain. After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media about his side’s performance on the day.
“We must compliment the squad, because it was absolutely not easy. Monaco have a lot of technique. We made a few too many mistakes and Buffon made a great save when it was 0-0.
“Once we took the lead, there were a few dangerous crosses when Dani Alves was late coming out, then Andrea Barzagli, but overall we should be happy. There is still the second leg to be played and that’s another serious match.”
Juan Cuadrado was a surprise omission from the side that started out in a 3-4-1-2 formation -
“It’s very simple. With Sami Khedira suspended and Monaco’s danger on the counter, I needed a player who could do more preventative marking. I also needed someone strong in the air like Barzagli, who had an extraordinary game, as Claudio Marchisio is not good with headers.”
Captain Gianluigi Buffon belied his veteran status and rolled back the years with an excellent performance -
“When the going gets tough, you know Gigi can be relied upon. He’s the best in the world and when there is a big game, he’s always ready.
“I think we did very well at the start, then Monaco’s quality players caused problems and we followed our man too many times, especially Mario Mandzukic, whereas we should’ve held our positions.
“We did better in the second half, except for when Dani Alves got a big caught up in his desire to push forward and left two against one for Andrea Barzagli.
“We could’ve played better technically, but we scored a goal on the counter, which is Monaco’s greatest strength. They are a tough side to take on, they play with vertical lines and you need to either pass it forward or, if you can’t manage that, pass it back to keep possession.”
Dani Alves and Miralem Pjanic both had rocky starts but have been excellent recently -
“There’s no secrets, it was just a matter of settling in. Dani Alves had some injury problems, needed to get to know his teammates, the environment and the tactical systems. His assists today for the two goals were excellent.
“I am very angry with Pjanic, because he can become one of the three best midfielders in the world, but every now and then when he gets a pass wrong, he acts like it’s the end of the world. He needs to stay calm and relax, because his potential is only partially expressed.
“The lads are having a great season, in order to make it extraordinary we need to be calm and focused.”