Juventus topped their first leg result in the Coppa Italia semifinal against Fiorentina, winning 2-0 and making it 3-0 on aggregate to march into the final against Inter Milan. Goals from Federico Bernardeschi and Danilo settled the clash, and after the game coach Massimiliano Allegri was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“The midfielders did an excellent job, Adrien Rabiot is definitely doing better at finding forward runs and had a great chance with the disallowed goal.
“We should congratulate the lads, as reaching the Final against Inter was an objective for the season. It had been a tough few days after the draw with Bologna, when we failed to make the most of many chances.
“Fiorentina are dangerous with their passing and pace if you give them a chance to run at you, but we did well to create those spaces in attack and defend well. We should’ve scored a second goal earlier, as we misplaced the passes on the counter-attack.”
The Bianconeri had only drawn over the weekend against Bologna, leading to panicked chatter about Juve being overhauled for fourth place in the league table.
“This is football, we suffered and won. Those who came off the bench all did really well, we had a team spirit to reach this Final.
“Now we must prepare for the next game in Serie A and try to recover some players. At one stage, I turned and asked someone to get warmed up, I’d forgotten he was injured and only realised when I saw he was dressed in normal clothes.
“I could not ask for more from these lads, as for the last four months it’s been practically the same players all the time, they’re throwing their hearts out there. We did well defensively this evening, which had gone awry lately.”
The coach was asked who he felt their closest challengers were, especially after Roma also dropped points over the weekend.
“Looking at the fixture list, I’d say Fiorentina are the main challengers for fourth place.”
Compared to the last decade, this has been a disappointing year for Juventus, was Allegri planning to return next season?
“For the next three! Having said that, Juventus must always challenge to win. The thing that most disappoints me is losing the head-to-head with Inter, because that is the result that decided the league.”
Lapo Elkann, the brother of John Elkann who is the head of Exor, the controlling company for Juve, had some pretty choice words to say about Allegri after the weekend’s draw.
“It’s amusing anyway. Lapo is one of the top Juventus fans, it’s only natural that when we don’t win, we are disappointed. Being five games from the end and not being in the Scudetto race does annoy me. It can be motivation for next season, we can learn from that experience and also realise that in football and life you can’t always win.”
Dusan Vlahovic struggled again against his former side, though his frustration was palpable to all as he continued to put in the effort and make several runs that were not picked up by his teammates.
“It’s only natural his fitness levels are dipping now, as he was not accustomed to playing every three days and threw himself into it. I keep saying, this lad is 22 years old, he lacks experience and needs that mental balance to deal with setbacks and not get upset with himself when things go wrong.
“It makes me laugh, as I’d like to get everything you say, because from one day to the next it all changes.”