Al­le­gri ir­ri­tated with crit­ics

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

TURIN: Ju­ven­tus coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri in­sisted he would not be get­ting de­pressed de­spite crit­i­cism at fail­ing to land the killer blow against Tot­ten­ham in their Cham­pi­ons League last 16, first leg clash in Turin.

“If any­one thought that Ju­ven­tus would win 4-0 this evening he was way off track,” blasted Al­le­gri, af­ter his more ex­pe­ri­enced side threw away a dream start with two Gon­zalo Higuain goals in­side ten min­utes to end with a 22 draw in front of their frus­trated fans at the Al­lianz Sta­dium.

“The Cham­pi­ons League is a dream and an ob­jec­tive, but win­ning it is not easy. I think peo­ple have lost some ob­jec­tiv­ity here. Juve play to win, but they are not the favourites. You can’t reach the fi­nal every year,” said Al­le­gri.

Higuain got the first goal af­ter 73 sec­onds, and min­utes later added a sec­ond from the spot af­ter Ben Davies’ foul on Fed­erico Bernarde­schi.

But Harry Kane re­vived Spurs hopes af­ter half an hour, with his sev­enth goal in the com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son, round­ing flat­tened goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon.

Higuain missed a sec­ond penalty be­fore the break fol­low­ing Serge Aurier’s reck­less chal­lenge on Dou­glas Costa to keep the English side in the game.

Chris­tian Erik­sen scored Tot­ten­ham’s sec­ond goal from a free-kick af­ter cen­tre-back Gior­gio Chiellini fouled Dele Alli, send­ing it low past a wrong-footed Buf­fon, leav­ing all to play for in Wem­b­ley on March 7.

“It’s like we lost 8-0 – good doc­tors are needed, not one, but many very, very good,” Al­le­gri be­rated jour­nal­ists at the post­match press con­fer­ence.

“Foot­ball is like this, we went from 3-0 to 2-1, we had a 3-1 penalty and in­stead Tot­ten­ham equalised 2-2,” ex­plained Al­le­gri of the game. “I be­lieve the lads are putting in a fan­tas­tic sea­son, but that’s a long way off think­ing they can win a last 16 match by a 3-0 score­line.”

Ju­ven­tus are bid­ding for a sev­enth straight Serie A ti­tle this sea­son, and are just one point off lead­ers Napoli. They are also in the run­ning for a fourth straight Ital­ian Cup, and to reach the fi­nal of the Cham­pi­ons League for the third time in four years.

“Peo­ple must re­alise that win­ning is not nor­mal­ity, it is ex­tra­or­di­nary,” con­tin­ued the for­mer AC Mi­lan boss.

“I will not ac­cept that tonight’s 2-2 draw could de­press the Juve fans. There are some scary ups and downs in the mood here.

“This re­ally ir­ri­tates me, be­cause peo­ple have no idea of how teams func­tion. The pri­mary ob­jec­tive is the Scud­etto: it’s not easy. Then we’ll try to go for­ward in the Cham­pi­ons League.

“It was al­ways 50:50 with Tot­ten­ham and it still is.”

Spurs boss Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino said his side “showed char­ac­ter ” in a com­pe­ti­tion where their best fin­ish was the semi­fi­nals in 1962.

“We’ve shown great per­son­al­ity against a team that has played two fi­nals in the last three years, my play­ers have been fan­tas­tic.

“Now it’ll be like a fi­nal in Lon­don.”

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