Allegri praises Juventus defence after Bayern tie

Turin (Italy), Feb 24 (IANS) Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has credited his team’s defensive organisation for helping them bounce back in the 2-2 draw with German giants Bayern Munich in their Champions League clash here.

Bayern dominated most of the pre-quarterfinal first leg tie at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday evening. The visitors had opened up a 2-0 lead, but Juventus displayed excellent fighting spirit to find a couple of late goals and come away with a well earned draw.

Thomas Mueller (43rd minute) and Arjen Robben (55th) had put the reigning Busdesliga champions in front. But Paulo Dybala scored for the Italians against the run of play in the 63rd minute before Stefano Sturaro levelled in the 76th to set up a nail-biting finish.

Allegri felt that the Juventus players’ confidence in their defenders encouraged them to push forward in search of the equaliser.

“We can afford to push higher up the pitch and risk the occasional one-on-one at the back because we have reliable defenders who can cope in those situations. When they took their foot off the gas, we grew in confidence, pressed them higher and played with less protection in front of the backline,” Allegri was quoted as saying by the Juventus website on Wednesday.

“This enabled us to create even more opportunities to score and we were ultimately rewarded for a more open-minded approach.”

Talking about Juventus’ overall performance, Allegri said,”We need to take away the great things we did in the second half whilst taking stock of and analysing properly the first 45 minutes too. We had the opportunity to play better from a technical standpoint before the break and we also created a number of openings, but we failed to capitalise on them under pressure.”

“For a certain period, they had ten players in our half and we did well to keep them at arm’s length. We did, however, need to be better at attacking the spaces when we won back the ball,” the 48-year-old Italian added.

Allegri also urged the Juventus players to carry the positives from Tuesday night’s clash over to the domestic front as they try to clinch a fifth consecutive Serie A title.

“We now return to assignments in the league and a Coppa Italia final to fight for with Inter. Tonight’s was a test to see if we were at the right level to make our mark in challenging scenarios and the performance fills us with considerable confidence which we’ll take with us into the remainder of the campaign,” he said.

Allegri is now targeting a win when Juventus travel to Munich for the second leg tie against the German champions on March 17.

“If you want to advance into the next round of this competition you have to win a game. We did not win it here so now we have to go and win it in Munich,” he asserted.

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