Max Allegri takes blame as Juventus suffer shock nine-year first in Champions League after Benfica defeat
Juventus have failed to make it out of the group stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2013.
A 4-3 defeat to Benfica on a thrilling night in Lisbon put an end to their hopes of progressing to the last 16.
Despite a stirring second half comeback, manager Max Allegri admitted his team were set-up wrong from the start, saying: “We had the wrong approach but we were soft on the goals. At 4-1, we took a risk, and there was a good reaction at the end. Already in the first half, we had opportunities.
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“We are sorry to be out of the Champions League. Now we think about the championship, we restart from the last 20 minutes and try to win against Lecce.”
Although the defeat sees more pressure fall on Allegri’s shoulders after a far from encouraging start to the season, he is determined to make amends before the World Cup, saying: “In the league, we have four games before the break. Now we have to recover energy, with those I have at my disposal we have to do well.”
One player at his disposal is young English talent Samuel Iling Jr, who made a difference from the bench, providing one assist and playing a heavy role in a second goal as Juventus threatened to pull off an extraordinary comeback, having gone 4-1 down.
Allegri admits the ex-Chelsea youth player was one of the shining lights on a dark night for the club, saying: “I am happy with the youngsters, they have quality. Miretti played a lot of games, and Soulé and Iling came in well. They gave that mental energy that the team needed.”
The last minutes were those of a great team
Juventus’ European adventures are not necessarily over for the season, with the Europa League a possibility should they finish third in their group following the final round of fixtures, which sees them take on Paris Saint-Germain.
Next up though, attention turns to Serie A, where Allegri’s side are eighth in the table after eleven games.
They are already a massive ten points behind leader Napoli, but Allegri is confident his team can turn things around.
“We have to put aside the elimination that hurts us, we are angry and sorry, but all we can do is think about Lecce,” he said.
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