Max Allegri insisted Juventus ‘ didn’t want to compromise qualification’ while Carlos Tevez says “the Champions League starts now” for Juventus. Here’s a roundup of the post match comments.
“It’s always complicated against Atletico, as they defend very well with tight lines, so it’s not easy to find passes between the lines,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.
“We risked on a few occasions, Buffon did very well in the first half with a save and we had chances too. In the second half we tried to win, but at the same time not risk losing. We didn’t want to compromise a qualification I thought was thoroughly deserved, as we did not deserve to lose against Olympiacos and Atleti in Madrid.”
“Of course we need to improve, as against these big clubs there are times when you have to defend and protect yourself – something Atletico Madrid do for most of the game. The level of European teams is three or four who are far above the rest: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea.”
“The rest of us are battling and we are aware of our qualities. We can slowly improve our self-confidence and I think we have played a good group with undeserved away defeats in Athens and Madrid.”
Diego Simeone took a surprisingly defensive approach to the match allowing Juventus to dominate possession for much of the game.
“It’s an honour if Mandzukic marks Pirlo. This team has for years made the most of its characteristics, pressing opponents, leaping on you the moment you get the ball and are very strong in the air. When Arda Turan and Raul Garcia find space, they do damage.
“This side has been getting results for years and their possession might not be great, but they remain one of the toughest teams to face.”
“Our objective was to try to break the deadlock and if that didn’t happen to not risk losing a very important qualification. I have to thank the lads tonight, as they gave me more success. I have been in the Champions League for five seasons, four at Milan, and have reached the knockouts every time. The Coach can have an impact on the team, but mostly when he does damage!”
“We played the game we needed to play in order to finish top. It was a very tight first half with two important scoring opportunities and Juve created a few dangers down the right,” the Atleti coach told Sly Sport Italia.
“After the break we did what we had to do: clammed up and waiting for them to take the initiative. We expected it to be tough, as Juve are a strong side with many champions and can certainly go forward.
“Juventus are an excellent side with Marchisio out and some lads on the bench who are very talented. I can assure everyone it won’t be good to pick Juventus in the draw. We are happy, as for the second year running we topped our group and for Atletico Madrid that means a lot in the Champions League. We calmly await what destiny brings us in the next phase.”
“I think this evening we saw a game of two halves,” Carlitos told Sky Sport Italia.
“In the first half we had chances and they played more open football. After the break Atleti closed up in defence and made it impossible to play.
“The Champions League starts now for us and I have no preferences on who we face in the next round. Whoever we pick, we pick. The important thing for us was to get through to the knockouts.
“The Coach always tells us that to win we need to suffer under pressure all together. We win with the sacrifice of everyone. This is the Juventus mentality.
El Rey Leon took a nasty bang to the nose but was quick to reassure fans.
“It’s just a cut, I’m fine, nothing broken. A little bit uglier maybe!” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s the dream for every player to be in a game like this. Any of the teams we face in the next round will be the same for us, they are all tough at this stage.
“We are a very difficult opponent for anyone we come up against, so we can beat anybody.”
“Atletico are so strong in the air and I didn’t perhaps move the right way to shake off the marking. Am I a little too isolated in the box? At times, as Tevez goes out to get the ball, but we did well in the first half and I remember a great Pogba assist that I was so close to turning in.
“It is very important to play as a first team pick for Juventus. I try to give everything in each game and prove I can help the team any way I can.”
“We prepared the game well and played against a great side with a lot of Champions League experience, reaching the Final last season. I think we did well,” Pogba told Sky Sport Italia.
“Atletico Madrid kept tight and there were few spaces, so I tried a few times from distance. Everyone knows they are strong defensively and we tried, but the aim was to qualify and we are very happy to have achieved it. We are playing to go forward and that means facing the strongest teams in Europe. It’s what we want.
“With the team we have today, we can go far. We also know that we have to give more and games are not easy, so we must give 120 per cent. 100 per cent isn’t enough.”
“I think at the end of the day, considering how it got complicated after three games, we did well to get it back on track and reached the final match knowing at least a point would be enough,” the goalkeeper told Sky Sport Italia.
“Considering the performances we put in throughout the round, I think we deserved to secure qualification one or two games ago.”
“If you finish top, you’re still going to meet the strong clubs. If you’re better than them on the pitch, then you win, it doesn’t matter when you face them. Atletico Madrid are now a prestigious side among the top four or five in the world. Their journey in Europe in recent years confirms that and so does this season after a slightly shaky start. I think they’ll be protagonists in the Liga and Champions League.”
*Quotes via Football Italia / Sky Sports Italia