Sunday March 3 2019
Allegri: 'Juventus need patience'

Max Allegri defended the referee after a 2-1 win at Napoli, discussed his Juventus future and the need for “patience” against Atletico Madrid.

It was a controversial match with refereeing decisions that satisfied nobody, because there were questions as to whether Alex Meret made contact with Cristiano Ronaldo for the red card, while the penalty given against Alex Sandro was harsh.

The fact remains both teams had a man sent off and Lorenzo Insigne fired the spot-kick against the upright for a final 2-1 Juventus victory.

This opens up a 16-point lead at the top of the table and the Scudetto race is to all intents and purposes now over.

“I fell asleep, as I should’ve replaced Pjanic when he had the first card. He was at risk, but I didn’t expect him to handle,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

“We lost some of our organisation, Napoli gained courage and the crowd pushed them forward. We had a chance to score another, but then we defended well and on the penalty Insigne missed.

“The rules, from what I’ve been told, state that Meret should be sent off whether he makes contact or not. The referee decided, as did the VAR. The referee had a good game and he read the situations well.

“However, we made far too many mistakes with our passing, we got too deep and allowed Napoli forward. On the positive side, we were able to suffer under pressure.

“I had put Bernardeschi behind their midfielders to help set up Mandzukic and Ronaldo, but we weren’t able to get those balls between the lines. After we took the lead and they went down to 10 men, I preferred to move things around.”

Allegri was asked about the Champions League, as Juve must overturn a 2-0 first leg defeat to Atletico Madrid on March 12.

“We’ll need a lot of patience, cool heads and focus in that game, because we could end up at the 70th minute without a goal. That won’t mean we are eliminated.

“It’s important we shake off this pressure, because this is a football match, it has to be played. We need to be more relaxed and take our chances.”

With the eighth consecutive Scudetto practically under lock and key, questions moved to Allegri’s future.

“Naturally, with a 16-point advantage and the superior head-to-head record, it’s a good lead, but nothing can be said until it’s mathematically secure.

“With regards to my future, I already said we’ll sit down to talk about this season and the next. I am very happy to be at Juventus, but it takes two to reach an agreement on the best route to take.”