Juventus beat Valencia 1-0 in the penultimate game of the group stage of the Champions League to book their berth in the knockout rounds. Winning the group is not settled yet after Manchester United pulled out a second consecutive last-gasp victory to remain two points behind Juve.
Speaking after the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri commended the La Liga side -
“Valencia proved they are in good shape, have the best defence in La Liga and it’s not easy to score against them. They attacked with four and defended with six, so we struggled to find the spaces and break them down.
“We were more organised and aggressive in the second half and found a way through.”
Alex Sandro came off at the break and Allegri went more aggressive, throwing Juan Cuadrado on.
“He felt pain in the flexor and it was better to stop at half-time.
“We should’ve been sharper going for the second goal. We did well, but should’ve done better once we got the ball in an attacking situation and gone straight for goal, which we did less well tonight than in other occasions.”
Valencia had their chances in the second half to equalize.
“Compared to the other Spanish sides, Valencia are very smart tactically and allow you very few chances. Atletico Madrid are more physical in their defending, whereas Valencia are more tactical in the way they block off all the spaces. It means the moment you manage to find a gap, you have to run through it straight away.
“They always keep covered and six behind the ball, so counter-attacks just aren’t going to happen against them. It’s not like against Manchester United, when we were so much in control that we got relaxed and distracted. This was a game where we had to use our heads.”
Allegri is happy with how Juve are looking -
“This is a team that is largely the same as last season, but playing together we have improved over time and move the ball quicker. Ronaldo gives us a sense of security and confidence, but the team is essentially the same.”