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Allegri: If Juventus go out against Atletico Madrid, it won’t be a failure

Manager makes some incendiary comments about the Champions League clash on Tuesday following Juve’s win over Udinese

SSC Napoli v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

An under-strength Juventus easily disposed of Udinese 4-1 at the Juventus Stadium, with the backup players arguably showing off a more relaxed and free-flowing playing style than the constricted football the starting squad have displayed recently.

All the talk though remains about the upcoming return leg of the Round of 16 Champions League fixture against Atlético Madrid on Tuesday, with Juventus facing a giant hurdle of overcoming a 2-0 deficit.

The manager seemed to take a defensive tone when asked about the game.

“Since I arrived, the Champions League has always been an objective, but if people say that it’s a failure if Juventus go out, that is not right.

“The overall level in the Champions League has increased and on Tuesday we’ll do our best. If we go through, then that’s great, if not then we’ll try again next year.

“In every season we reached the knockout stages, so we’ll see what happens. I remember in my first season here we played against Malmo: there were people who were white as a sheet with fear.

“Even if I keep hearing otherwise, if Juventus go out, it won’t be a failure. I find that laughable. If we go through, fine, but if not then it’s just a football match and we’ll try again. We’ve in theory already won two trophies this season. That is not a failure.”

Regarding the performance on the night, Allegri was satisfied with the changes he made.

“The lads did well today, but I had no doubts they would. We still need five victories to win the title, regardless of what Napoli do, and are in a strong position.

“The results have been extraordinary, we need to go all the way and try to win one or two trophies. We need to improve individually in our touch, playing more vertical balls, but these are young players and can certainly grow with time and experience.

“Kean is very good when it comes to running at the goal and finishing, but needs to improve his movement and choices, but that’s inevitable for a kid who was born in 2000.

“It’s going to be completely different against Atletico Madrid, we need to be sharper, quicker and move the ball much faster.”

Andrea Barzagli seemed to have reinjured himself after barely quarter of the way through his return to the starting lineup. The manager was asked how that would affect his plans for the game.

“It’s unlikely Martin Caceres could play as a forward-thinking full-back. I have a few options, we’ll see what happens. The game can last up to 120 minutes, so we need to keep the options open and look at the big picture.

Douglas Costa should be available on Tuesday, but it’s unlikely Mattia De Sciglio will be ready to play. We have to do very well in the final third, where Atleti are going to try to keep it very tight. We’ve got to provide width, try to spread them out and above all be alert on the second ball.

“The more I’m in the mix, the better I like it. I prefer having to reinvent things and reshuffle players, otherwise it gets boring… Besides, they lost Filipe Luis and we lost De Sciglio, so a full-back each and fair’s fair.”

After Allegri had to shut off his social media accounts recently, was he worried about fans’ reactions to him if Juve are eliminated on Tuesday?

“Juventus were always in the running for the Champions League during my time here. When I arrived, there was a great deal of scepticism not just towards me, but the team and club.

“In my time, we always at least reached the last 16, got to the Final twice and were eliminated only by the eventual winners.

“It’s not that simple. Bayern Munich took 10 years to win the Champions League, while Chelsea only won it when they didn’t deserve to, as they were pinned back for most of that Final.

“In my view, it’s wrong to see it negatively, because I think we’ve done a great job here. It’s true every story has to come to an end, but we’re heading for an eighth consecutive Scudetto and won the Italian Super Cup.

“I think expectations have been raised far too much and it’s become an obsession. Playing in the Champions League ought to be a pleasure and a joy.

“It’s a different tournament to the others, as if a ball bounces badly, you don’t have time to recover, you’re already out.”

Also he was asked again about his future but he maintained nothing would be decided quite yet.

“I left after four years at Milan, this is my fifth year at Juventus and I hope to continue. We’ll see. The important thing is the work we did.”