Juventus’ indifferent form in the Champions League group stages means that with two games to play they are not completely out of the reckoning for the knockout stages, but at the same time are not guaranteed that they can drop down to the Europa League either, and could possibly end up bottom of Group H as well.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Benfica, Allegri acknowledged the long odds his side faced.
“We are not in Europa League and we are not out of the Champions League yet. We’ll try to have an opportunity. Benfica have destiny in their hands, even if they lose tomorrow. Tomorrow we need a performance similar to the first leg, which was good for long parts.
“They are one of the four unbeaten teams in Europe, together with Napoli, PSG and Real Madrid. Also, they have a different drive in front of their fans and we know it.
“We must have intensity for a longer time and be focused defensively, knowing that Benfica have quality. We must be in the game, with no rush and playing as a unit. The first leg was a strange game, we didn’t even start badly in the second half, it would be ideal to win by two goals.”
Juventus have now won two games in a row in the league with a 3-5-2 formation, would he be relying on that tomorrow?
“I had certain players available, who are doing well. Perhaps, we’ll change something tomorrow. Tomorrow, we need a good game defensively and we must create opportunities like in the first leg, trying to avoid the mistakes we made in Turin.
“The only risk we have, given the last two games won, is that there is too much euphoria, too much enthusiasm and this lowers the ‘immune system’. When we are compact, we show strength in defence. In the last two games we had the right attitude, which hasn’t always happened. The magic moment must not stop. I’m optimistic, we have everything we need to do well.”
Speaking alongside the coach was the much-maligned Alex Sandro who reiterated the Bianconeri’s desire to pull off a surprise win.
“We know that the only result that counts is victory. We came here to win, we are improving and we can no longer afford mistakes.
“We want to show our best, we want to give our best and win the game.
“I played here when I was at Porto, I know some of their players. It’s going to be a tough game, but are prepared and ready, we know we’ll put in a good performance.”