Allegri calls for Juve to erase Champions League exit from their minds

By Sports Desk March 19, 2022

Massimiliano Allegri called for Juventus to forget about their Champions League exit, insisting fourth place in Serie A would not define their season as a failure.

Juventus are one of two teams – Sevilla are the others – from the top five European leagues to remain unbeaten in their main domestic competition since the start of December, with no side picking up more points in the Italian top flight during that period (32).

That undefeated streak has guided the Bianconeri to fourth in the league, seven clear of fifth-placed Lazio and just seven behind leaders Milan coming into this weekend's games.

Head coach Allegri's side are also still in contention for the Coppa Italia, leading 1-0 before the return leg of their semi-final on April 21 with Fiorentina.

However, Juve crashed out of the Champions League as they were 4-1 aggregate losers to Villarreal in their last-16 clash in midweek, but Allegri insists that does not take anything away from their campaign so far.

Speaking at Saturday's news conference ahead of a clash with Salernitana, Allegri said: "Salernitana are different to the first meeting, they've done well and are playing better.

"We must immediately erase the Champions League exit and finish this period in the best possible way to try to stay three points behind Inter."

Pressed on whether Juve's 2021-22 season was a failure after elimination in Europe, he said: "I have nothing to clarify. Together with the club we're on a path, and we've laid a good foundation.

"I think we're on the right track. It doesn't take much to destroy things, so you have to be very careful. We went from a very dangerous situation in January when we were 10 points behind Atalanta, and we were good and lucky there, something that didn't happen against Villarreal.

"On Tuesday we weren't the team that could win the Champions League, on Thursday it's all over again, it's failure.

"[Reporters] have to write these things, we have to keep a clear head. It's not that Tuesday is one thing and Thursday is another.

"Of course, no one expected a 3-0 defeat [in the second leg to Villarreal], but that's football. Like what happened in Madrid with PSG. The positive thing is that after the international break we'll have all the players available, except for [Federico] Chiesa and [Weston] McKennie."

Juve will again qualify for next season's Champions League if they can finish in Italy's top four, and Allegri assured that he is committed to a long-term project at the Allianz Stadium.

"To me, those who judge know little," he added. "Together with the club I have to look at the construction of a four-year project. We've shortened the time frame a little thanks to the January transfer market, and now we'll evaluate how to improve further.

"If for you fourth place is a failure, you are right to write it down. There's an old saying in football: whoever wins is a good guy, whoever loses… You don't have to smash the atom, you have to win games based on an assessment of what you have available.

"The club and I know very well what to do, we have clear ideas and the same thoughts. But this doesn't matter now, I have these players and I'm proud of them. We have 10 games in which to do our best and then see where we are.

"But I'm not changing my evaluations, maybe we can do better one year and worse the next. Now we have to put everything aside and think about these games.

"Let's try to beat Salernitana, which isn't easy. Above all, to have the ambition of being three points behind Inter when we play them [at home on April 3]."

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