For the second European away game in a row Juventus’ task was made much easier after their opponent had a man sent off, and justifiably so. The Italian side carried a narrow one goal lead into the return leg in Germany, but went on to beat Freiburg 2-0 to make it 3-0 on aggregate and march into the quarter finals.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri however cut a frustrated figure on the touchline and after the final whistle did not mince his words regarding his side’s performance overall.
“It was important to get through to the next round, we did well in the first half, but need to improve when we are leading and have an extra man.
“It’s an important result, as this team had only lost to Dortmund in August. The result is good, even excellent, but let’s not get carried away because we’re only in the quarterfinals. We need to think about what we did in the second half and improve.
“We have to make better choices when we are on the ball. We lowered our intensity and concentration levels, making life difficult for ourselves. Whether they had 10 men or 11, it shouldn’t change anything.”
Striker Dusan Vlahovic has been desperate for goals in recent weeks, and was unfortunate to see one he did get in the back of the net chalked off for offside through VAR. His lack of confidence told in the penalty he took that saw Freiburg reduced to ten men, but his shot had just enough on it to elude the keeper despite him getting a touch.
“I am pleased for the psychological aspect of the goal, but again we need to improve on that second half performance. We cannot make mistakes like that on the choices and the passing channels. It’s just not good enough.
“There were two or three situations, then the icing on the cake was Wojciech Szczesny’s long ball for Moise Kean. These are situations we need to improve, but it also depends on the characteristics of our strikers. Aside from Di Maria, they are all basically counter-attacking specialists.
“I’m happy for Vlahovic, he returned to scoring and broke the deadlock. I was not angry with Kean, but the second half needed to be played differently. We needed to work more, as we made too many passing mistakes.”
Second half substitute Federico Chiesa saw his late shot parried onto the crossbar by the keeper before he finally broke his own goal drought in time added on.
“I’m happy because he scored a goal. Federico was the most recoverable player, and his goal was important for us. But we need to improve in ball management, and we need to grow. We lowered our attention and rhythm too much when we were playing with 11 against 10.”
Defender Federico Gatti got a rare start, and played well overall in both halves of the pitch. It was his shot from a setpiece that led to the penalty just before halftime.
“Today, Federico had a good performance, but the team achieved a good result by advancing to the next round with a good second half. We cannot play a second half like this against a team with 10 players, we need to think about it and improve.”
Star Angel Di Maria was on the bench today after missing Sunday’s win over Sampdoria, will he be fit for the big Derby D’Italia this coming Sunday at Inter Milan.