NEWS
Saturday December 9 2017
Allegri: 'Better than expected'

Max Allegri “hoped Juventus would put in a good performance against Inter, but didn’t expect it to be that good” after a 0-0 draw.

Mario Mandzukic had the only real clear-cut scoring opportunities in the Derby d’Italia.

“We have to compliment the lads for a tough performance, not allowing Inter a single shot on goal other than Marcelo Brozovic right at the end,” Allegri told Mediaset Premium.

“Inter are top of the table, have a lot of technical quality and worked really hard. We had a great second half and were only lacking a goal.”

The Coach was asked why he had decided to leave Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa and Alex Sandro on the bench.

“In football, other than technical qualities, you need to be in good shape physically. I always say that running isn’t indispensable in football, but it certainly helps.

“Dybala could create some important dangers between the lines in the final stages. Like many others, he needs to improve his fitness levels and we’ll work on that this week.

“We had prepared to use Mandzukic wide. The lads did well, as Inter used up a lot of energy in the first half pushing up to come get us and they fell away towards the end. We aren’t in perfect physical shape yet, so it was important to balance out the energy levels.

“Inter pressed hard in the opening 20 minutes, so in those circumstances we had to make do, even if we had the best chances in that period with Mario Mandzukic. Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic crossed more than anyone else in Serie A this season, but tonight Juan Cuadrado, Mattia De Sciglio, Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi worked well to double up and not allow any crosses.

“It’s a shame we didn’t win, but considering we can improve so much in future, I am happy with the performance. Inter are competitive to fight for the title to the end, so are Juventus. I hoped the team would put in a good performance tonight, but it was better than I expected, as the players are not in great shape right now.

“We moved well in their half and it was tough, as we played for the Champions League qualification midweek and used up a lot of energy there.”

The draw for the Champions League Round of 16 is on Monday and Allegri thinks he can predict their opponents.

“I know we have a 66 per cent chance of drawing an English side. We’ll probably get one of them. Paris Saint-Germain have pace and technique, so I’d rather avoid them, but the fact remains we have to play whoever we get.”