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Allegri: Costa was meant to come on

Manager’s comments after bounceback win for Juve

Juventus v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus pulled six points clear of Napoli in the Scudetto race after a 3-0 win against Sampdoria, sparked by the introduction of first half substitute Douglas Costa.

“I have to thank Miralem Pjanic, as his injury allowed me to make the change. Douglas Costa was meant to come on, not quite that early, but it was part of the plan. Samp play and defend centrally, so we had to spread them out and go round them with crosses from the flanks.

“We are absolutely not favourites for the Scudetto. I want to thank everyone today, because it’s not easy to win like this after such a draining experience as the Champions League.

“We played with focus, calm and intelligence. Then Pjanic did the rest! He just had a thigh twinge and it was best to come off.”

Benedikt Howedes finally started a game for Juve, and got a goal as well.

“This was a difficult match. Unfortunately he had a horrible year with injuries, it wasn’t easy to find the right moment for him to play, but Stephan Lichtsteiner played 90 minutes in Madrid and needed a rest.

“Howedes has technique, he was first choice for Germany and scored a splendid goal. I am happy for him, he deserved it, as he is a lovely guy and waited so long.”

The Bianconeri’s lead over Napoli is now six points, with six games to play.

“Napoli are having a sensational campaign, they are still right up there and I think the next two games could be almost decisive for the Scudetto.”

Allegri had appeared uncertain about his Juve future in the pre-match press conference.

“Maybe my words were misunderstood. I simply said that every March-April we meet to plan the future. I am happy here, I am fully in sync with the club. I go on vacation when the transfer window opens, as I trust the club completely.

“We still need to pick some objectives. If we don’t win the Scudetto and Coppa Italia, they might not still want me! We’ll talk it over the way we always do, every year, there’s no difference.”