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Juventus, Allegri: “Cardiff a very important lesson”

Juventus Manager Massimiliano Allegri wants the Bianconeri to maintain their focus against Real Madrid.

Tonight’s Quarter-Final first-leg is a repeat of last year’s Champions League final where Los Blancos emerged victorious, winning 4-1.

Allegri spoke about the match in his pre-match Press conference.

“We’re going to play the first leg of this two-legged clash, this Quarter-Final against a team that since 1996-97 has always been in the Champions League and since 2011 has always been at least to the Semi-Finals,

“Eliminating a team like that would be another step forward and something to really hang our hats on, but we’re absolutely aware that we’ll be taking on the best team in the Champions League.

“Our ambition is to play on the same level and be able to beat them.

“They’re absolutely frightening when there’s an open pitch, they can reach the box in two or three passes so we’ll have to be really attentive and we’ll have to use our defence as a foundation to attack.

“Of course we have watched the final again several times, and I would say that the team, especially in Europe but also in Serie A, has improved a lot, especially in managing the difficult moments during the match.

“In Cardiff in the first 15 minutes of the second half mentally we suffered and we just gave up a bit, and they were able to score the third goal right after the second.

“In that moment we left the competition and – particularly because this is a two-legged match – that’s something that cannot happen again.

“So the important thing is to stay very focused and stay in the match without giving anything up.

“We have to be very intelligent in knowing how to manage the match, because as I’ve said before, they have such technique, precision and accuracy – above all they’re very fast, because we basically all have the technical qualities – but they’re very fast and very accurate when they break.

“So we’ll have to react appropriately in defence and of course we need our fans because our fans will have to help us.

“Whatever happens tomorrow it’s an occasion, it’s the first leg so everyone has to be proud of the fact that the team has reached two Champions League finals in the last three years.

“The match in Cardiff was a very important lesson to grow and to improve, we had a good first half and then in the second half we should have managed the ball much better and we had to deal with it in a more calm way.

“That’s something that influenced us, from a psychological view the team has certainly made huge strides since then.

“Real Madrid are very serene whenever they play these kind of matches, we’ve improved in that regard and we have to further improve because Juventus already have all the technical qualities.

“We have a great chance and then of course it also takes a bit of luck.

“I’d like the team to play the way they did in the first half in Cardiff and manage the ball better and of course to be very focused on the entire match.

“At this level if you get distracted for even a second the opponents have such quality that they’ll seize on the opportunity immediately.

“We’ll have to be very focused on the match, something that didn’t happen in Cardiff at 2-1. Basically we weren’t alert and you can’t think about playing against Real without being concentrated.

“We may well concede, but it’s 180 minutes so we’ll also have chances to score goals because they also allow you those kind of chances.

“The important thing is always to be focused, concentrated and committed”.

The influential Miralem Pjanić is suspended for tonight’s match and Allegri was asked who will start in place of the Bosnian International.

“Either Marchisio or Bentancur, one of the two will play tomorrow. Then I will have to evaluate between  Rugani and Barzagli, after that I will evaluate who will play up-front.

“Both Mandžukić and Alex Sandro are in very good shape, I’ll have to see tomorrow whether or not they play.

“I think Mandžukić could be a very good substitution tomorrow if he starts on the bench. He’s important for us for his great physicality and he could be an important option for us, as well as Cuadrado who has come back.

“We have basically the whole squad available apart from the two suspended players”.

Italian football expert providing the latest Serie A and Azzurri news | News Editor for Italian Football Daily | London based | Twitter: @FinallyAquino

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