Juventus did just enough to ensure top spot in their Champions League Group H, and secured it thanks to some excellent finishing on the part of Zenit St. Petersburg at home against Chelsea. The Bianconeri struggled to finish their chances, relying on an early Moise Kean header for a 1-0 win in Turin against Malmo.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri was relieved by the result but frustrated by his side’s incompetency in front of goal despite their dominance.
“It was a great evening for the result, but we wasted too many scoring opportunities. We cannot think we’ll get far if we continue to waste all these chances.
“We must be more clinical, more determined when we are in front of goal. This is absolutely something we need to improve.”
Allegri rested a number of key players, while giving some others a chance to prove their credentials, including teenager Koni De Winter in defence.
“I wanted to see how everyone was doing and they all gave a good response. Arthur, Rodrigo Bentancur, Daniele Rugani, Mattia Perin and Koni De Winter all played with character.
“It was a difficult match and we were able to break the deadlock early, but then failed to kill off the game with 2-0 so many times. We have to improve this, because we cannot keep games in the balance like this.”
Juve’s next game this weekend against Venezia, and Allegri warned his side they need to be better prepared.
“I told the lads that a much more difficult match awaits us this weekend against Venezia, because none of them have faced Venezia before. I’ve been there, it’s a beautiful city, but also a very difficult stadium to play in and we need a completely different performance to what we saw today.
“Their pitch is very narrow and they are aggressive. We must be organised and focused, above all improving our effectiveness in front of goal.”
Leonardo Bonucci was seen smiling on the pitch after finding out and telling his teammates the score in the Zenit - Chelsea game, but insisted Juve were not favourites for the competition.
“We can only call upon our best physical and mental shape in the Round of 16 to go forward. The minimum target for Juventus is reaching the last eight of the Champions League.
“Whatever the draw holds for us, and it could be Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, we need to reach those fixtures in the best possible shape. We need to at least reach the quarter-finals.”
Moise struck a more defiant note, insisting whoever the Bianconeri took on they would be ready for.
“It’s very satisfying for us to go through as group winners, now this gives us motivation to work even harder and be ready for the final stages of the tournament.
“Juventus do not fear anyone, we are a great team and we’ll be ready for whatever awaits us. I am here at Juventus now, I feel at home [here].”