Massimiliano Allegri spoke of his disappointment for his players after Juve’s elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Sevilla. The Bianconeri weathered first half pressure and took the lead through Dusan Vlahovic, only for Suso to score a late equaliser before Erik Lamela won the game in extra time, making it 3-2 on aggregate. The result means Juve will have to rely on their league standing to qualify for the Champions League next season, despite a pending points penalty.
Speaking post-match, Allegri spoke of the need to put the ‘abnormal’ season in context, given what the club have faced, and praised his players for their attitude throughout the campaign:
Is the disappointment because of the many missed chances?
“The team did what it had to do. The details make the difference. I just have to thank the guys for everything they did and I feel sorry for them.”
Did you expect more from Di Maria?
“Angel did everything he could. I’m sorry because the team played a really good game, but I’m really sorry for them.”
Is there regret for letting Sevilla have the ball of the game?
“I think we played the game that needed to be played. It was not easy here against Sevilla who are a strong and experienced team. Every time they jumped on you, just look at Fagioli’s injury. You also have to see the positive side of things, tonight so many guys were playing a semifinal for the first time. When you play these games they are never clean, they are dirty. Fagioli’s injury maybe next year doesn’t happen to him, he will be quicker. Like it happened to Miretti. Gatti was on his fourth game in Europe. One cannot be born learned. Players grow through the experiences they make.”
“I was hoping that they would play a match like that. I’m glad. Let’s look at the appearances between Gatti, Fagioli, Miretti, Iling, etc. Vlahovic himself at the European level. At the European level you need a lot of calm, through matches you gain experience. They were also too good. Those behind Danilo, Bremer and Gatti played an important game. Bremer too, how many games does he have in Europe? Maybe next year we will come out of these games with details. There are games where I get upset, but there is nothing to blame. They have to remain calm, we missed two chances before their goal.”
Second year without a title…
“I believe that in football it’s difficult to solve that in a short time. It has been an abnormal season and we are trying to finish second in the league and improve the ranking from last season. We tried to win, but we didn’t succeed. After these defeats maybe one gets rushed or anxious. Who thought Juventus was ready to win, given the vicissitudes. We tried, but with young players, those with less experience, this drubbing will surely make one think. Certain episodes maybe next year will come in our favor. But this is normal.”
How come the lead lasted for such a short time?
“They are a team that was jumping on you and we lost a ball on the way out, then Suso scored an extraordinary goal. We had after the goal at least two favorable situations, we could have done better but we didn’t. This is football. As I said before from the bench it was a good game, technical, with good plays. But it was a good game and it makes us grow for next year.”
Given the other Italian sides this season, Is this a missed opportunity for you?
“I am happy for those who made it to the finals. I want to congratulate Inter, Roma, Fiorentina. I am sorry, but let’s keep working, trying to stay in the top four, aiming for second place, trying to improve the ranking of these years. From the day after tomorrow we have to be lucid in our evaluations and choices for next year. In these cases we absolutely must not get depressed or perhaps excited at certain times of the season. Juve has to win every year, I understand, but there are times when we have to work to get back to winning or being competitive. Maybe next year we will get back to being competitive for the Scudetto, we were far away this year and it was an abnormal season. We’ll talk about it at the end of the season, there’s no point now, we need to recover and rest. The boys should not reproach themselves for anything, what they are doing is a demonstration of a group that is a team, with important values. Hardly anyone else would have done what the boys have done. Which is not easy, and I can assure you of that. From the day after tomorrow we need to go back to work for the game against Empoli to win the game.”
After Vlahovic’s goal did you guys relax a bit?
“The guys were crying and disappointed. In those 7 minutes we had two important situations to go further ahead and we missed. Szczesny’s first save, an important save, came because we fell asleep. These are the details that make the difference. Maybe in the group round you don’t pay for them. Kudos must be given to this stadium because it supported Sevilla until the end.”
Too many missed goals…
“We did what we could, but we could have done more. It also depends on the characteristics of the team on the field, which played a good game.”
So much pride in your team shines through from your words….
“I’m proud of these guys that I’m lucky enough to be able to coach. It wasn’t easy this year, it won’t be easy in the last three games as well, because unfortunately the final got away from us. We have to have the strength to react. I have nothing to reproach the boys for, because they played an important game.”