Allegri: Juventus’ target remains Champions League qualification

Juventus‘ short-lived title challenge hit another major obstacle as the Bianconeri faltered to their first home defeat of the season losing 1-0 to Udinese. After a loss to Inter Milan last weekend, Juve’s misfiring attack were unable to find the back of the net but coach Massimiliano Allegri chose to remain pragmatic.

“It’s a tricky moment because we earned one point in three games. We have an important target, which is the Champions League. We must return to winning to secure a Champions League placement.

“The last 15 days were not so nice, we were reduced to ten men against Empoli two weeks ago. Tonight, Udinese had just one shot on target while we had three or four chances in the first half. We should not underestimate what we’ve done until now. The lads have done an extraordinary job and it’s through these moments that we grow up, so we must continue to work.”

Where did it go wrong tonight for his side?

“I think the first half was good technically but when we have a chance, we must score.

“We conceded from a set piece. We didn’t have enough players inside the box.”

The energy seemed lacking today from his side.

“There were not enough late runs, we put many crosses in, and we built a few chances on the left flank. We are sorry because we are no longer unbeaten at home. We must keep working and set our sights on the Champions League.”

Inter now have a seven point lead over Juve, and still have a game in hand too. Are they now uncatchable?

“Having the ambition to stay close to Inter gave us motivation, but as I’ve always said, Inter are having an extraordinary season, so they deserve credit.

“They started their project with Antonio Conte many years ago, so it’s normal that they are favourite. Juventus began on a different path two years ago; our target is to return to the Champions League even if we last season got there.

“Simone [Inzaghi] is doing extraordinary work, but I am not crazy when I say certain things. There are different levels. In my first five years at Juventus, we had the best team and it was normal to win. Even if victories are always extraordinary, that was the norm. The same goes for Inter now. Having earned 60 points with a game in hand, means they have a great pace, so Simone and his staff deserve praise.

“I’ve always said Milan would have returned in the race. What we need to do now is work hard. I am happy with what the players have done until now. We have earned 52 points but we must get as many now.”

A number of young players are getting significant playing time this season.

“Of course, young players need time to grow. It’s about finding balance and it’s normal. This team has excellent players. We could have done more against Inter, but we faced an extraordinary team. We must do something more because a Champions League placement is not granted yet and this moment can become tricky. Right now, we should not look at the table but earn the points we’ll need for the Champions League. We have more points than we expected to have at this point at the start of the season. We must be realistic in life.

“Inter played a Champions League Final last year. They’ve been improving, so they deserve praise. It’s normal. On my side, I congratulate my players too because they are having an important season too.”

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