Juventus overcame all odds to beat Tottenham 2-1 away and seal their qualification to the Champions League quarter finals, and as is typical of Massimiliano Allegri, the manager was humble in his post-match press conference.
When he was complimented on his tactical masterstroke of bringing on two fullbacks (Kwadwo Asamoah and Stefan Lichtsteiner) on the hour mark and changing to a 4-3-3 that immediately reaped rewards, Allegri insisted on praising his players.
“The players win the games. I occasionally do some damage and try to make up for it, but I am proud to train this group.
“The lads and club deserve compliments for what they’ve been doing over the last few years.
“It was a prestigious victory at a stadium like Wembley. We waited for the right time, showed patience and won the game. Over the two legs, I think our qualification was deserved.
“We struggled in the first half, above all by losing the ball and they were deadly in those situations. We kept splitting the team in two with misplaced passes, but after the break were more balanced, compact and kept it tight. The lads achieved something impressive.”
When asked why he made the two changes he did, the manager explained his rationale.
“I made changes because we needed players with different characteristics, as Asamoah is extraordinary in his passing and has been really underestimated throughout his career.
“Lichtsteiner did well working with Khedira, we were tired on the flanks and needed some more pace and width. Tottenham hit the post in the final minute, but Harry Kane was offside.”
What now for Juve going forward?
“Gonzalo Higuain had been out for two weeks, PauloDybala only really returned on Saturday, so we need to get the others back to full fitness.
“Now we have a couple of games coming up in Serie A that will be crucial.”
Giorgio Chiellini, who was at his tenacious best as always (just missing the bloodied bandage around his head), spoke to the media as well about how Juve dug deep to eke out the win. Towards the end of the interview, Chiello’s comments about the passing of Davide Astori as he fought hard to keep his voice from cracking were incredible.
Forza Juve, onwards ho!