Juventus
    23.10.2014 00:31 - in: Champions League S

    Allegri remains upbeat about qualification chances

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    The boss admitted that Juve were below par in the first period but is still confident that his side will reach the knockout stage.

    It proved to be a frustrating evening in Athens as the Bianconeri slipped to defeat against Group A rivals Olympiacos. Yet Massimiliano Allegri was frank about Juve's shortcomings during his post-match media duties.

    "We didn't play well in the opening period. We were stretched and unable to get at them high up the pitch. Technically we were poor.

    "We fell behind but then after the break we pushed up more. We need to improve in certain areas, against teams like this who chase and harry a lot. Even if you're not on your game, you can't let them have three or four breaks like we did."

    The Bianconeri coach described Olympiacos v Juve as one of the two worst performances seen during his reign, together with last Saturday's in Reggio Emilia.

    Unlike in Madrid, when Juve were punished for a single moment's distraction, here in Athens it was the entire first 45 minutes which will want looking at again - the team's overall performance, rather than any individual displays.

    Allegri added: "They pressed us a lot and the whole team generally found it hard. We needed to show more movement when we were in possession but we didn't do that."

    Quizzed specifically on the performance of Andrea Pirlo, who was substituted early in the second half, the coach explained that the Italian remains very much the team's midfield fulcrum.

    "Unlike some other players, I think Andrea needs to be playing to find his best form. I thought he would be key to slowing down the tempo of our opponents.

    "In any case he'll soon be bang on form again. He has a starring role to play for us in Serie A and our Champions League campaign."

    Despite the defeat, the Bianconeri boss doesn't feel tonight's result has put paid to Juve's chances of qualifying for the knockout stages. He knows his team possess the qualities needed to do what it takes.

    He thus ended on a confident note: "I'm full of optimism and I'm convinced we'll manage to go through."

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