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Allegri: Juventus must be up to the task against Atletico

Manager’s comments ahead of big Champions League clash tomorrow

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

Juventus are in a tough spot if they will be hoping to continue their Champions League adventure this season. Tomorrow they host Atlético Madrid, and are down 2-0 from the first leg in Spain.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri talked up the Spanish side and their manager Diego Simeone.

“Diego Simeone’s results speak for him, as he was in two Champions League Finals, losing one on penalties and the other he was winning until the last minute.

“Atletico are one of the best teams in Europe and have been over the last 10 years. It’s a marvellous fixture in the Round of 16 and we must be up to the task. I am certain we will be.

“It’s a Round of 16 tie, but if we were to call this the biggest match of the season, we’d be in real trouble. If we do go through, it’s not as if we’ve won the Champions League, as there are other games. We need calm and to take it one game at a time.

“If we manage to overturn the first leg result, it will be extraordinary. After that we either think about the quarter-finals or ending the season on the right note.”

Winger Douglas Costa dropped out of contention for the game after not recovering in time from his injury.

“We must do well to read the various moments of the match, understand when to do some things and when to do others,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Douglas Costa only had one and a half training sessions with the team and felt pain today. Seeing as it’s an important match, it’s better he felt it today rather than tomorrow, otherwise I’d risk being left without any substitutions left.”

Regarding his lineup and formation choices, the manager stayed secretive.

“I will not confirm or deny anything, I have to evaluate and choose. Seeing as Douglas Costa got hurt today, I have few options with certain characteristics, so tomorrow we’ll practice on set plays.

“The team put in a good first half performance, but our only mistake was after the ball hit the crossbar, we thought that we’d got away with it and relaxed.

“You just have to see the set plays in the first half, where they never got near it, and the last couple of set plays where they threw men into the box.

“We need to use our strengths, our determination and aggression, all supported by the passion of our fans who will certainly give us a big hand.”

On the point that Cristiano Ronaldo needs to have a bigger impact on Champions League games of this sort.

“We’ve got to give something more, but that just means everyone giving what they are capable of. The emotional approach is very important, games are strange and we mustn’t stop if there are difficulties.

“People say ‘you have to give 110 per cent,’ but that’s impossible. The important thing is to end the game, either after 95 minutes or 120, without regrets.

“Ronaldo is a player with such Champions League experience that having him with us in these circumstances is a great advantage.”

Tomorrow’s opponents haven’t conceded a single goal in their last five Champions League games, but Allegri sees that as an opportunity.

“Atletico haven’t conceded in five games, so that bodes well, by the law of averages. We’ve got to play in a different way to the approach we had in Madrid, with more vertical passes, pace and pressing.”

As has become customary, he was again asked about his future in the light of Zinedine Zidane choosing to return to Real Madrid.

“I won’t talk about my future, as this is not the right moment, plus I’ve been asked the same questions so many times by now, I can’t keep giving the same answers. The important thing tomorrow is to get a great result and achieve our target, then we’ll think about the day after tomorrow another time.”