24 February 2016
As the old cliché goes, football is a game of two halves, but in the case of tonight’s Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich, the two periods of play could barely have differed to a greater degree, as the Bianconeri clawed their way back from two goals down to a secure a fully merited draw.
Running the rule over his side’s overall performance, Massimiliano Allegri began: “We need to take away the great things we did in the second half whilst taking stock of and analysing properly the first 45 minutes too.
“We had the opportunity to play better from a technical standpoint before the break and we also created a number of openings, but we failed to capitalise on them under pressure.
“For a certain period, they had ten players in our half and we did well to keep them at arm’s length. We did, however, need to be better at attacking the spaces when we won back the ball.”
In explaining the team’s turnaround in fortunes after Arjen Robben’s 55th minute strike for the Germans, Allegri admitted the answer lay in playing with a greater freedom that had been lacking before the break.
“We can afford to push higher up the pitch and risk the occasional one-on-one at the back because we have reliable defenders who can cope in those situations.
“When they took their foot off the gas, we grew in confidence, pressed them higher and played with less protection in front of the backline.
“This enabled us to create even more opportunities to score and we were ultimately rewarded for a more open-minded approach.”
With the last 16 second leg pencilled in for three weeks’ time, Allegri and company turn their attentions to their domestic duties, but the Tuscan tactician urged his players to take note of the best moments during tonight’s display in order to push on multiple fronts.
“We now return to assignments in the league and a Coppa Italia final to fight for with Inter. Tonight’s was a test to see if we were at the right level to make our mark in challenging scenarios and the performance fills us with considerable confidence which we’ll take with us into the remainder of the campaign.”