Monday February 12 2018
Allegri: ‘Juventus have grown in CL’

Max Allegri believes Juventus have “more self-esteem” in the Champions League, and his team against Tottenham will “depend on how I feel when I wake up”.

The Bianconeri have reached the final of the competition twice in the last three years, and face Spurs in the first leg of their Last 16 tie tomorrow.

“Obviously I’d be glad not to concede, to end up with a clean sheet,” Allegri said in his pre-match Press conference.

“It’s a very balanced match tomorrow, 50-50 so we’ll have to be very focused tomorrow and very careful.

“We have to play so as not to exalt their qualities and characteristics. We have to use our heads and our technique because they’re a physical team.

“So we’ll have to be very careful in possession, and if we want to go through of course we’ll have to play very well in London too in the second leg.

“The club has grown a lot and the team have grown a lot, in terms of confidence in Europe in particular, getting very important results and achievements.

“They reached two finals in three years and that’s something very important.

“I always say that Real Madrid have been the only team in recent years who have done better than Juventus in recent years in the Champions League.

“Making these type of comparisons, comparing ourselves to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the great European teams is something that’s really fundamental for Juventus.

“This is not a process that will end this year in Europe, as I’ve always pointed out Juventus’ objective is to keep going reaching this stage, because you have Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus vs Tottenham and in each tie one of the two will be eliminated.

“So it’s very important to play these rounds and then maybe the Quarter-Finals, the Semi-Finals or even the Final, but certainly our self-esteem has grown a lot.”

“Tomorrow we’ll have to play an excellent match for a tactical point of view, because otherwise if we just focus on the physical aspect we could suffer a lot.

“We have to work hard from a tactical point of view and play on the things they struggle with.”

Blaise Matuidi is out for tomorrow, and the Coach was asked who will replace the Frenchman.

“Of course someone will replace him because we have to play 11, but it’ll be someone with different characteristics.

“We’ll try of course to play a match according the players and specific skills and features they have.

“We know we have 180 minutes to play, we know the weaknesses Tottenham have and also their qualities.

“We’ll have to use our heads and play with great personality, being aware there will be some difficulties because the four players they have up-front have great quality and they exploit crosses very well, so that’s something we have to take into account.

“[Claudio] Marchisio convinced me and [Rodrigo] Bentancur also very much convinced me. There’s also [Stefano] Sturaro who can play in Matuidi’s role, and he’s probably the one most similar to Matuidi.

“If not we’ll have to change formation or at least fill the roles with players with different characteristics, a lot depends on the players.

“We’ll have to see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow, so basically it depends on my alarm clock.

“Don’t think that I won’t be sleeping, because I can assure you I will be sleeping tonight.”

Much of the build-up has focused on Harry Kane and Gonzalo Higuain, and the tactician was asked which striker is better.

“What a question! Higuain, of course!” Allegri laughed.

“Kane is really a top player though, very strong, very good indeed.”