Juventus completed a thrilling comeback away in Rome, coming from two goals down and losing Federico Chiesa to score three rapid second half goals to beat Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma 4-3.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri was in the stands for this one after being suspended for a game by a sporting judge following some choice comments he made the previous game about the refereeing.
His assistant Marco Landucci manned the dugout instead and must have been ruing the day when first Chiesa went off with what looked like a serious knee injury and then the Giallorossi scored two quick goals early in the second half to lead 3-1.
“When you win everything is much more amazing. Manuel Locatelli’s goal gave us back our enthusiasm and we managed to turn it around.
“Happy with Mattia De Sciglio’s goal, we showed character. Approaches are of little use, you have to show it on the pitch. Today I lost 5-6 years of my life, if it always ends like this it’s amusing.”
Roma started the game hot and scored early on, and could have had more too. However, Paulo Dybala equalized soon after and stabilized things.
“We started with fear, we wanted to play an offensive game but we conceded goals from set pieces. We changed something in the second half because we were struggling to score.
“Too bad about the second goal, we threw the ball away, it happens often, it’s not a coincidence. Then we did well to believe in it, the second goal helped us and gave us confidence.”
When asked who made the substitutions for the game, Landucci laughed -
“A secret, we can’t say! We were all staff working together.”
Wojciech Szczesny had a couple of huge saves, but none bigger than the late penalty that preserved the lead.
“I hoped Tek would save it like he did in the first leg.”
Alvaro Morata made a difference immediately after coming on with his hold-up play.
“A strong player, he has always shown affection for this team.”
What did he think of Paulo Dybala’s showing?
“A good game, a good goal, he showed his quality.”
Landucci ended with an update on the injury sustained by Federico Chiesa.
“The only negative note, a sprained knee, he will be assessed tomorrow.”
Szczesny meanwhile did not want to take too much credit for the penalty save.
“Yes, I was lucky rather than good. Pellegrini shoots two kinds of penalties, I did the feint on the run-up and I was out of time, I was a bit off balance.”
The goalkeeper also talked a little bit about how the Juve side are evolving with Allegri back.
“We’re getting there but we still lack a bit of personality, the Juve DNA. We have players who have important qualities, but we need to give them time to get used to playing under pressure.
“[We need] To be more consistent. This year we’ve played some good games, then others we’ve played badly. It’s not like Juventus, we must try to be the best team in Italy but today we are not. But our ambitions are there, we’ll get there little by little.”
When asked if he thought if the Bianconeri could still get a Champions League berth this season, Szczesny sounded confident.
“If one of us doesn’t believe in it, they can stay at home and not play matches. You can’t accept not going to the Champions League, even in this difficult year. We are Juventus. But first we have to improve, but we have the ambition to reach the top of Italy.”