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Allegri: Higuain has to play the way he knows how

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Manager’s comments ahead of Serie A action tomorrow

Juventus FC v Bologna FC - Serie A
Max Allegri with Gonzalo Higuain
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League loss midweek with a clash against Sassuolo. Speaking to the media ahead of the game on Sunday, manager Massimiliano Allegri looked to put the Barcelona game behind him.

“The team had a very good first half in Barcelona, then we conceded this goal that was avoidable with greater concentration. It can happen at Camp Nou just as it can in any other game.

“We just had to continue in that vein, because the match was certainly not over and we had time to recover. If you leave open spaces for Barcelona and Leo Messi to run in to, it’s obvious they’re going to cause problems.

“Paradoxically, we conceded three goals on our three errors and their counter-attacks. We can learn from that night, though, figuring out what not to do and why we should rely on our own characteristics, not trying to play like Barcelona.

“That’s the only way we’ve got of staying in the game and being able to beat these teams. We are improving physically and tomorrow begins a run of games with Sassuolo, Fiorentina, Torino, then the Champions League again.

“Our only available result tomorrow is victory, albeit aware we are facing a Sassuolo side that plays well, has quality players and above all is in need of points. We need great respect for Sassuolo and humility in this game.”

Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic are fit again and will play tomorrow.

“At this moment we’ve got Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira out, so we can’t really play with three midfielders. The important thing is to work as a team, as one unit, because that’s something we lost in the second half at Barcelona.

“In the first half, Barcelona barely had a shot on target, but even the best defenders in the world will struggle against Messi when abandoned by the rest of the team. That is why it’s important to play as a unit, the forwards and midfielders helping out the defence.”

On the topic of Gonzalo Higuain, who came in for some criticism from the manager midweek.

“He doesn’t need a reaction, he just has to play the way he knows how. Not being called by Argentina has to be strong motivation for him to repeat last season’s performances, as we all must do.

“Last year, Higuain had some very good performances against Barcelona and was decisive in the semi-final with Monaco.

“It’s a new campaign, we started Serie A with three wins out of three, we lost in the Champions League to the group favourites and the side who are favourites along with Real Madrid to win the trophy, so nothing is compromised.”