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Allegri defends Buffon from backlash over his comments

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Manager stands by his captain ahead of return to Serie A action

Previews - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The furore following Juventus’ exit from the Champions League continues unabated but meanwhile the Scudetto campaign resumes tomorrow with a game against Sampdoria. A lot of the adverse reaction has come regarding comments made by captain Gianluigi Buffon who was very frank of what he thought of referee Michael Oliver and his decision to award the penalty that decided the Bianconeri fate.

“It’s always easy to judge from the outside. With regards to Buffon, Gigi has been an example for 20 years of what a man should be both on and off the pitch. If just once, in one difficult and complicated situation, because we were 30 seconds away from extra time – and we’re not saying we would’ve qualified, just had the chance to play extra time – the referee made this decision.

“I don’t know if it was correct or not, I don’t care, but Buffon was also sent off and therefore denied the opportunity to save the Cristiano Ronaldo penalty… Gigi’s reaction is to be understood.

“I think sitting from home without tension, not taking into account the psychological situation Buffon was going through, isn’t really fair. I challenge anyone in the world to not react in that situation.

“You need to be calm when everything has cooled off, but when you are in the middle of that situation, I challenge anyone to not lose their temper. Those who aren’t capable of understanding Gigi’s state of mind at that moment need a course in psychology, otherwise I can’t help them.

“The referee had a very good game for 90 minutes, he really did. He then slightly lost his way at the end, like when you pull up a Monopoly card with an unpredictable twist, but these things can happen.

“I will just say that his error was also in awarding stoppages, because there were four minutes awarded, only one stop for substitutions and the doctors never made it on to the pitch, so there was no need for all that stoppage time.”

Allegri went on to say that it was time to let bygones be bygones and move on to the next game.

“After three days in which everyone, and I mean everyone, talked about it, we have to set Madrid aside and focus on Sampdoria. We can’t change anything about it, nothing at all. The fans and players would’ve deserved to see another 30 minutes, but it doesn’t matter now.

“We’ve got Napoli breathing down our necks, so we have to keep pushing and find some more psychological energy. This is an objective that cannot be repeated, a seventh consecutive Scudetto. We absolutely must not let that slip.

“We need everyone tomorrow, from those on the pitch to the fans in the stadium.”

As far as the squad selection for tomorrow -

“Tomorrow, unless something happens, both Gigi Buffon and Juan Cuadrado will start. I need to evaluate the situation in attack, as the decision is whether to play Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic together or leave one on the bench.

“At the back, either Daniele Rugani or Medhi Benatia will play. Giorgio Chiellini doesn’t particularly need to rest. Higuain tends to struggle a little after international duty, because with the long journeys and playing for Argentina isn’t easy, but he did well in Madrid anyway.

“We’ve got a lot still to play for, we have to bring home the Scudetto and Coppa Italia, because so far this season we’ve won nothing.”

The manager has always been clear about his Juve future, but are there doubts creeping in now?

“I haven’t sat down with the club to talk about it. I can tell you that a Champions League quarter-final won’t make any difference. If anything, they make you more eager to continue.

“I wouldn’t take a year off, as I am still motivated and want to work. Of course, you never know what will happen in life. Right now, we must remain concentrated on this season.”