12.01.2017 00:00 - in: Coppa Italia S

    Allegri: “This is a competition we want to win”

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    The boss was only half pleased with the Bianconeri's display against Atalanta: “Good going forward but less so defensively”

    Massimiliano Allegri expressed his satisfaction at qualifying for the Coppa Italia quarter-finals but also emphasised his side's defensive shortcomings following Wednesday's victory over Atalanta.

    “It's good that we're still in the competition,” the coach began. The Coppa Italia is important to us and we want to win it – just like Serie A and the Champions League.

    “It wasn't easy to knock out a team like Atalanta so we're pleased with the result.

    “It was an enjoyable game and both sides played well. We were looking good until we started easing up. Then at 3-1 we made mistakes and almost ended up conceding a third because Atalanta had upped their game and were playing with renewed enthusiasm – that would have complicated matters no end.

    “We need to be more careful. When you're 2-0 up you need to defend differently to how we did in those last 15 minutes. It only takes a moment and suddenly the match can open up again. It's never over until it's really over.

    “We were very good going forward - I think that was one of our best games tonight from a technical point of view - but we were less effective defensively.

    “We need to take a good long look at that: we can't just stop playing. We have to remember that we mustn't concede even when the result seems to be in the bag.”

    Allegri also commented on some of his players' individual performances.

    “[Paulo] Dybala played well today. He's come back from his injury and he needed game time.

    “[Leo] Bonucci got a 15-minute runout tonight. He'll train with the rest of the squad tomorrow and we'll see if he's ok to play on Sunday.

    “[Marko] Pjaca has just come back after three months on the sidelines. He's top quality and we saw that tonight, but it's a whole new ball game in Italy so he's still got a lot to learn.

    “As for [Tomas] Rincon, he put in a good showing in midfield. It wasn't easy for him as it was his first start with his new team-mates but I'm happy with how he played.”

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