Wednesday April 17 2019
Juve and Allegri deserve every criticism

Ajax laid bare the worst defects of this Juventus side, as Elio Salerno saw a team running scared with a sense of inferiority that stems from their Coach.

There can be no excuses, no alibis and no hiding place for Max Allegri, his players and Juventus football club. Regardless of the opposition’s excellence on Tuesday night, exiting the competition was not an option. This was not an unfortunate defeat, where the underdog had defended for their lives and stolen victory. Juventus were dominated and were fortunate not to concede more. A scintillating Ajax team destroyed the establishment and deservedly progressed to the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition, edging a step closer to legendary status.

The first half was somewhat tentative from both sides, with Juve seemingly managing the opening stages better. Ajax showed glimpses of what they could offer, but rarely threatened. Then came the inevitable, Ronaldo headed home to add another goal to his incredible Champions League record. It looked set for the Portuguese Number 7 to make this another night about him, but on 34 minutes came the moment that changed the quarter-final.

Donny van de Beek reacted quickly to control a wayward shot before slotting home coolly. Federico Bernardeschi had failed squeeze up and get with his defensive line, playing the Dutch midfield man onside. There was an instant feeling of shock around the stadium, half-time came quickly and the full effect that goal had on Juve would only be seen after the break.

Moise Kean was introduced in place of the injured and disappointing Paulo Dybala, but Kean could do nothing to prevent what was coming. Ajax bossed proceedings, the equaliser was galvanising and they sensed another incredible victory was on the cards.

Juventus were nervous and the pressure of the situation was too much for them to handle. Instead of intently searching for the lead or attempting to control possession, Allegri’s team crumbled. Ajax excitedly pressed on, knowing that a second goal would be devastating for their hosts and when the colossal Matthijs de Ligt powered home a header with a little over 20 minutes remaining, there was only one team going through.

Juve’s insecurities were laid bare for all to see. Earlier this year, Atalanta had paved the way for others to exploit this team and Allegri ignored the warning signs, only for it come back and haunt him once again on the biggest night of the season. The Old Lady simply could not contain Ajax’s energy levels, their technical ability and above all, intelligence. The Dutch team have complete understanding of their game. Ajax dominate the pitch, create space and exploit it with clever movements and combination play. It is something wonderful to watch.

It is difficult to understand what Allegri’s thought process was coming into the second leg. After familiarising yourself with Ajax, leaving The Johan Cruijff Area with a draw and an away goal, there should have be change in approach. One of Allegri’s strongest assets has always been his tactical flexibility and variety, but it seems like he has no answer to the deployment of an intensive, progressive style of football. It begs the question, is Allegri becoming outdated?

The Juventus boss will point to the absence of captain Giorgio Chiellini, Mario Mandzukic and Douglas Costa as decisive factors. His squad has been struggling with injury problems and it is far from ideal preparation to have those players and the likes of Emre Can and Ronaldo all missing recently, but you are in charge of Italy’s best club, it is no reason for this loss.  

In response to last week’s game, he leaned on experience to help. Experience means little, especially when you are being over-ran. Regardless of those players missing, take a look at the Juventus bench. Joao Cancelo, Leo Spinazzola, Rodrigo Bentancur and Moise Kean all started on the side-lines, all players that are undoubtedly better-equipped at playing against Ajax. Those players would not sit on the Ajax bench, they would be encouraged to go and play without fear. Instead, what was offered up to Erik ten Haag? Mattia De Sciglio, Alex Sandro, Blaise Matuidi, Emre Can and an out of form Paulo Dybala.

Ajax epitomise the beautiful game, but this isn’t a team of world class players, it has a nice blend of qualities that work perfectly well as a unit and had Juventus running scared. The Italian champions were punished for having a sense of inferiority, a lack of bravery, that stems from the man that sends the starting XI on to the pitch.

The aggregate score was close, but in reality, this should have been a more comfortable victory for Ajax. If not for the superb Wojciech Szczesny - who was easily his side’s best performer this round - the score would have been three or even four.

On the face of it, this Juventus isn’t the best team in Europe, it isn’t even Allegri’s best Juve, it is simply the team that has Ronaldo, the player responsible for all of their knockout round goals. That in itself tells a story.  

Ajax deserve all the plaudits, while Juventus deserve every criticism and this result goes to further prove that in modern football, if you have belief in the way you play, define a clear style and approach, then you do not need to constantly search for ways to stop an opponent. You deploy Plan A and let that lead the way.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit:

Have your say...
Everyone bashing Juve!!! where are the rest of Seria A???
At least Juventus are there to represent, they may not have won it for a long time, but they have certainly competed. Which more than you could say for the rest of the embarrassment of a league. If Juve were tested at home and maybe pushed a little by the other clubs would our game be better? probably. So lets not lay the the blame solely at the Juve door. all you other clubs in Seria A have responsibility to compete.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 10:13am
I have to agree with the writers observations, it is time for Juve to step up. It is no longer enough just to win Serie A every season. Juve need to go out week in week out and crush every single team they play in the league. Its true, they should be scoring 4 and 5 goals past Italian opposition and not simply just do enough and grind out a result. If Italy wants a team to dominate Europes elite, Italy needs Juve to develop a hunger, an attitude and a sense of believe that they win instinctively
on the 17th April, 2019 at 10:06am
This just confirms what I've longed thought: Allegri is super lucky. He has a reputation of being a good coach despite not being one. At Milan, he inherited a team with world-class players when the rest of the league was rebuilding (but HIS team couldn't score against Tottenham & lost the Scudetto to Juve despite having a much stronger team. Also, who benches Pirlo?). At Juve, he inherited Conte's champions, joined a team whose resources far exceed others' team & was gifted Ronaldo.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 9:30am
Serie A needs to wake up!! Juve showed just how good Serie A is right now. They capitulated when it matters, how many times have we seen this happen. I can't blame the coach entirely but much of it is his fault.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 9:05am
This Juve only needs one thing - Sell Pjanic and Buy Verratti!!! If they had done that 3 years ago we would have already won the CL!!
on the 17th April, 2019 at 8:23am
Dybala is a player who should be played as a CF, he is useful in and around the box where he can finish with his wand of a left foot. He is good at wriggling out of tight positions but is not a ball carrier... he is basically a left footed del micro but Mad Max plays him far too deep, mostly doing work in midfield where he is ineffective. He is player to build a team around
on the 17th April, 2019 at 8:04am
The run for Juve speaks for its self in the champions league loosing to young boys and manu having lost to athletico then Ajax . They never convinced that they could win and with all these players surely the manager is at fault . Maybe next season some lessons will be taught but I think not ! Shame as this team seems weak from the past couple of years ,Ajax were fantastic hope they go all the way and it’s no surprise Holland will play England in the nations tournament wonder why ?
on the 17th April, 2019 at 7:42am
Juventus were battered over 2 legs by a team that has unknown youngsters and Blind and Tadic... it should have been 4 or 5 at least in aggregate. This Ajax side are good but any of the English teams will be too much for them.

Why are Juventus so physically lacking? What is going on with their fitness levels? They look second best in almost every game I see them. Blaise Matuidi and Ronaldo are the only two who look fit enough to be playing at that level
on the 17th April, 2019 at 7:33am
Singling out Dybala is unfair, he has hardly kicked a ball and is very much a player who needs to be at top fitness to excel... that being said, he was actually doing a very good job in stifling De Jong who hardly had a kick in the first 45 minutes. After the introduction of Kean it allowed de jong to dictate the play.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 7:31am
This Juve has the talent to overtake this young Ajax side, but Allegri’s game plan is always bland and boring. Allegri has the tools but hasn’t deployed them properly and keeps making these questionable selections. Name one player that had improved under Allegri ? That’s what a coach’s job essentially is ! Rugani / Di Scigilo didn’t belong in this match and neither did Bernardeschi who is the most overrated player at Juventus.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 7:02am
2/2: Regardless of what opponents do or think they are, made me a fan of them and their coach on 1st time of asking, while on a budget, while max reminded me of his dull presence once a year, with a "materstroke" of luck or a painful elimination. Unfortunately we need more Ajax and less Allegri in semis, more action and less reaction, more plan A, to a can't-complain Serie A faithful, justice was served today.
Hope all those Max fans out there see it with our eyes, you deserve better than this.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 6:58am
its either Serie A weak that makes Juve look so strong or Allegri has been exposed.Napoli most probably will leave Thursday although I do hope a miracle take place and then we are back to point zero.The only thing is that Germany and French team are out which make Italy looks good otherwise if Porto creates a miracle (really doubt it) then Italy coefficient will be back again!
on the 17th April, 2019 at 6:47am
This Juventus is awesome and I’m looking forward to flying out to Turin this weekend to watch them collect an 8th successive Scudetto at the Allianz arena. You can’t win every game. This is a great Ajax team that will be remembered for years and we will see many of these players at top European clubs over the next few years. Juve had a strong first half but the lucky (it was!) away goal affected fluidity and the mentality of the players. Given injuries I’m unsure what else Allegri could’ve done
on the 17th April, 2019 at 6:40am
1/2: "Is Allegri becoming outdated?".. When was he ever in style? In the 70s? next takeaway: "You deploy Plan A and let that lead the way" F**king exactly, you can't always get by with plan B and hope the team with less errors goes through, you simply can't do it 7 times in a row to win it all, impossible. Isn't having a plan A that much safer than just playing it safe? Ajax didn't care about their opponents' plan, they had their own football and played it with confidence,
on the 17th April, 2019 at 6:31am
I normally defend Allegri's selections but it's clear to me he underestimated Ajax tonight.

Pretty sure Berna was played over Bentancur in midfield to transition into attack whenever possible. Pjanic behind back line to dictate possession.

The tactics and players were unprepared and it showed. Berna was stuck defending and had a hack. The physically inferior Pjanic was overrun.

Juve prepared themselves for sheep but met a pack of hungry lions.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 5:44am
Dybala has been horrible when on the c.league stage. I don't know if it is the pressure of the number 10 shirt. he just doesn't seem to have the hunger he had when he 1st started out his juve career. allegri is the problem. team is always cautious. looks clueless. I would have started kean with Ronaldo in the 1st leg. that's what a brave coach would do.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 3:39am
Juve are dreamers! Can anyone just spare me the thought of them whining about " the Big ear trophy" how can Juve win the champions league with Allegri? This team is an Antithesis of European football! Midfield full of average and shit players who cannot even pass the ball with their brain! But have become so mechanical and reminiscent of the Milan of Allegri!... Serie-A is such a Terrible, shity and sucking league that only serves pasta mixed with sour cream, cheese and crackers! As reflected by its champions RUBE!....hahahahahahahahahah
on the 17th April, 2019 at 3:32am
Sell A Sandro 60, Pjanic 70, Khedira 10, Cuadrado 15, D Costa 50, Dybala 100, don't renew Mandzukic (too late) for 305 million euros
(shame won't sell Bonucci & Rugani)

Buy Chiesa 60, Joao Felix 75, Zaniolo 30 (plus Orsolini), M. Savic 100, Tonali 25, Umtiti 50 for 340euros

Loan Tonali out for one season...

Next season

Canelo Chellini Umtiti Spinazzola
Ramsey M. Savic Zaniolo
Chiesa Kean Ronaldo

Felix interchanges with Kean / Chiesa.

Subs: Wesley, Bentencur, Can, Matiudi, Bernadeschi
on the 17th April, 2019 at 3:28am
Allegri becoming outdated??

More like pretty much all italian managers are outdated, all they seek is balance and being matches are won by the team who score more than the other.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 3:26am
Shocking and embarrassing. Ajax level with PSV, Juve clear of Serie A, NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS... IT SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED! Allegri is too cautious. I mean they should've gone for more goals in the first leg. The 1-1 actually made them play without urgency tonight. Kean should've started both legs - he wasn't even brought on first leg and yet with Ronaldo he's the most on form striker. Allegri the tinker man who has his favourites.

Ajax deserved it but wow Juve, no excuses... winnable tie
on the 17th April, 2019 at 3:16am
summer. Sure teams should own their own stadiums and each find an Arab or Russian oligarch investor but those will either take time or take the life out of the game. My reforms are basically free. And they would bring some stability and coherence to the other teams who are supposed to be playing in the same league as Juve. Next season Serie A will once again buy and sell literally thousands of players, Juve will go on and win their 9th title and get knocked out of the Champions League.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:54am
The other teams need to pull their fingers out. Here's the reforms I'd make:
a) reduce Serie A to 18 teams;
b) limit squad sizes to 25;
c) limit the number of summer transfers per team to 3 (to force team's to focus on their priorities);
d) limit the number of winter transfers per team to 1 (to reduce disruption mid-season);
e) limit loans to two spells (to force teams to either back players or sell them).
These reforms would take literally one minute to introduce and could be in place by next
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:54am
Shameful performance! This performance hurt more then the final losses in recent years! Shameful display from every single player that stepped onto the field tonight! Ajax deservedly went through! As far as Juve well Shame on Allegri shame on the players shame on the tactics and shame on every single person that supported this type of performance from Agnelli to Allegri to Nedved and every single player Just Shameful!!!!
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:53am
an Eredivisie title where they're neck and neck with PSV. Football is about inches not miles. There are tiny differences between each side. If Juve drop their level for a second they can lose to a SPAL or an Ajax. So they don't let it happen - often. The rest of the teams barely struggle to stay awake while they're falling over each other to finish in 4th place. Every touch that the players take is delayed while they wonder what they're going to have for dinner. It's not good enough.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:53am
I have said on here that this Juve side are not the greatest side but that has actually very little to do with Juve. Tonight also had very little to do with Juve. Juve are struggling because they are not being challenged in the league. The season has been over for them since March because of the other team's incompetence. They've turned into Bayern or PSG where they struggle in Europe because of their easy dominance at home. Ajax are not a better team than Juve but their players are fighting for
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:51am
There's only so much critisim you can keep throwing on Allegri. At this point fans and pundits need to start looking at Agnelli himself. The 1st thing out of this imp's mouth after the match was the project will continue, meaning Allegri will stay. Newsflash imp, you did not need to waist 100mil on Ronaldo if your only goal was to win the Scudetto year after year. The fans should stop buying tickets. Maybe when it starts hitting his pocket book he will CHANGE the project and get a NEW coach!
on the 17th April, 2019 at 2:45am
far to long I have said allegri is not brave. he always chooses the safe approach. you can see it all his team selections. out-of -form Dybala playing CF as oppose to in form Moise kean. defensive disiglio over cancel. that's always allegri. juve has not played well all season. these things will get exposed in the c.league. you would think after so many c.league campaigns he would get it. teams that play the brave attacking football wins. allegri simply does not get it.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 1:50am
When Juve cannot control the pace they are done.They like slow methodical football. Youth and speed are hard to beat. Just look at the French team. The first half Ajax were intimidated but once they let loose Juve were done. Max is a great coach but it is time to move on. If only they landed Zidane. 8 Italian titles in a row in a bad league big deal.
on the 17th April, 2019 at 1:49am
"Italy's best club" means nothing
on the 17th April, 2019 at 1:30am
Classic classic Juventus in Champions League...give Milan a few years to build again and they will shine for Italy...Juventus will never win a CL again, they are the Nottingham Forest of Italy...
on the 17th April, 2019 at 1:23am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.