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Juventus qualify to fourth successive Coppa Italia final

February 28, 2018 - 7:56 pm

Juventus were not at their best, but Miralem Pjanic converted a penalty to make it 2-0 on aggregate and book Juve’s place in the Coppa Italia final.

Bianconeri coach Max Allegri praised Douglas Costa’s contribution to the game and gave an update on Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.

“We have to compliment the lads for what they did tonight and are doing this season. Our aim was to reach March and still be in all three tournaments,” Allegri told Rai Sport.

“Now we’ve got an important game coming up in Serie A with Lazio and then must be at our best in London against Tottenham Hotspur.

“We had a few problems in the first half, as we were late closing them down on the flanks and they did well to find passes between the lines.

“In the second half, we created more going forward, as Douglas Costa put himself behind the centre-forward and that broke the game open.

“Dybala came on well, I am happy and I’m sure he’ll be the added value to this team in the final stages of the season. As for Gonzalo Higuain, risking him for one game makes no sense. We want him back in shape going forward.

“Higuain is not available right now, he hasn’t trained for a few days and we’ll see if he is available on Saturday. That is the most important game right now, because London and Tottenham can wait. It’s not an obsession. I realise it’s an important game in a marvellous stadium and we want to progress with a good performance on the European stage, but it mustn’t be an obsession.

“There are always moments in a season where things go wrong and there are injuries, but we won’t waste time crying over spilt milk. We should always thing positive and will always find a way.

“When you are a big club, you must combine beautiful football with results. It’s a very fine line. Over the last few years, Tottenham have had the most prolific attack and the best defence, but haven’t won the Premier League. That means these statistics don’t really count in England, but they do in Italy.”

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  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet February 28, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Much work is required with this squad to make it as competitive as we were over the last six years. We have some real talent in Costa, Pjanic, The Pole in the Goal, Caldara, Rugani, Bernardeschi, Dybala, Higuain and both Matuidi and Marchisio both still more than able to provide experience and technique in the middle of the field. Other than which we must hope that Bentancur blossoms, Mandragora is brought in to be given the chance to become the anchor of our future midfield…which leaves us short on the flanks at the back. Maybe De Sciglio will come to life next season, I suspect he will merely be average or injured throughout his time with us. A shame, as I had higher hopes for the lad. Darmian could provide some useful thrust, yet with Sandro fairly poor all season (so perhaps he really has wanted out or other issues at play), Asa and Lichsteiner to leave, surely Howedes with too little time to achieve anything other than an extra loan next term…we probably need to invest quite significantly in the LB and RB positions. Sell Sandro if his form remains poor to sporadically resembling his former greatness.

    We have the money. Also need a back-up/challenger to Higuain and Pjanic. Hopefully Chiellini or Benatia can last to play a solid role with the youngsters at the back next season. Ideally the former, for Benatia has not impressed me enough to believe he is useful at the top level, consistently.

    Paredes appears interesting…a proper DM is hugely missing from this squad. The midfield changes constantly, as do the fullbacks and we have zero reliable back-up for our CF.

    Much to ponder…At least the Serie A race will hopefully remain exciting. I am less interested in the Champions League as a team without any recognisable identity never wins that competition. Which is unfortunately what we are presently, in a period of transition of sorts, which is natural and will once more, I have no doubt, lead to an upsurge in form, entertainment and success. This campaign however, is now focused on retaining the domestic double…Awful dive by Matuidi. Hate to see us winning games in that fashion.

    • Avatar
      Mixalis Neskis March 1, 2018 at 10:26 am

      “Awful dive by Matuidi. Hate to see us winning games in that fashion.” , Once again the team did the absolute minimum on the field, which I really really do not get. The weekend match was postponed, which means they had another 3 days to rest and prepare for the match and all you get is a 1-0 win with a “Rube penalty” ,as an Inter supporter would say and if we were not lucky on this awfull decision of Buffon to rush out, things could be a lot worse. The question remains though:
      Why do the most expensive players in Italy look and play like Serie B players on the biggest proportion of the match?
      -It is not stategy! The calendar shows the firtst week of March, no more “the team will take of on February”.
      -It is not to save energy! That can be done only if the player is not on the pitch (or comes later as a sub), not by running behind the ball for 80 minutes like they did against the Spurs
      -It is not a cohesion thing! A 70% of the first team starters play at least 2 years together and from the new signings, only Matuidi was heavy depended on and he did great
      In my opinion it is a combination of mental and physical exhaustion. Like At. Madrid, there is a limit to what can be achieved from limited players and we have plenty of them:
      – Madzu, Juan, Benattia, Sami are all players that should be seen as overachievers. Their skill set does not go hand by hand with the trophies they won. They can be motivated to selfsacrifise for the team, but you cannot do that forever(at least not successfully) and the trio reached their max last year.
      -Pjanic, Higuain, Dybala are all players that operate at their best when they are getting carried by their colleagues. They just do not have the mental aspect to their game to be able to play at their best when fatique settles in. On the biggest part of the last 1,5 seasons they have to mark and fight like they were MMA fighters ,which at the end catches up with them.
      Just see Dybala’s course this year : 18 goals – zero – bench – good form – injury.

    • Avatar
      Juventino Persa March 1, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      “in the Champions League as a team without any recognisable identity never wins that competition. Which is unfortunately what we are presently, in a period of transition of sorts”
      Agree with you mate, just I am afraid to me it doesn’t look like a period of transition, cause we are heading nowhere! We have been like this entire season, and we are in March! They say football teams mirror their coach’s personality, and this medicority is exactley Allegri’s character. Many Juventini would not agree with me, but I really want Max out of my beloved team, even if he delivers CL, which he won’t, mainly because as a football fan, when I watch my team’s match I only feel “disgust”!
      In more than 20 years supporting Juve, I barely remember such a potent squad playing such a coward, soulless football!

  • Avatar
    Steve Bachrach March 1, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    At what point are rashes of injuries to key players indicative of potential issues with the training staff, versus just poor sporting luck? That factor, more than any other, seems to be standing out as this season progresses and we continue alternating steps forward and sideways in terms of results and ability to sustain/impose a fluid attack. Sandro’s up and (mostly) down form has me favoring Asamoah for selection most of the time and points to our strange inability to effectively shore up LB/RB depth in the off-season. For positives, I feel Benatia has filled in nicely for Leo, with less personal drama, and forged an excellent partnership with Chiellini. Nice to see Marchisio showing his class and return to form for much of yesterday’s game, Costa continuing to exhibit massive grinta and creativity, Matuidi back and (besides managing to fall down in the box slightly less obviously than Pjanic’s attempt earlier) shoring up the defense.