26.12.2014 20:13 - in: The team S

      End of 2014 interview with Massimiliano Allegri

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      Sky Sport Italia held an exclusive interview with the Bianconeri coach in which he assessed the first half of the season and reaffirmed the targets for the rest of the campaign. Here's what the gaffer had to say.

      “Thrown into the world of Juventus from one moment to the next,” Allegri has won over the Bianconeri fans with every passing game. Joining the Old Lady in July, the Tuscan coach has gradually introduced his own footballing ideas into the Italian champions' squad and guided them with knowledge and nous to the success they have enjoyed in the first half of this season.

      A season which has seen his side lead the table from the outset, in style, and which has also seen them deservedly qualify for the Champions League last 16.

      Speaking to Sky, the Bianconeri coach took advantage of the winter break to assess his first six months at the helm of Juventus.
      The result of which is a long interview in which Allegri spoke about his first few days in Turin, the impact of his new surroundings, the targets reached thus far but, above all, those yet to be achieved, which means the Bianconeri have plenty to play for in 2015.

      “I would have been crazy if I'd turned down Juventus. It struck me as an exciting challenge. I've come into a group of lads who still want to win, to a club that is always striving to better itself and so there was an immediate rapport between the team and me, especially in wanting to consolidate and improve upon the results over the last three years in Italy. And to improve we needed to – and still need to – of course do better in Europe,” said Allegri when asked about his first few days in Turin.

      Over the course of the interview, Allegri went on to discuss a number of subjects, talking openly about his experiences with the Bianconeri and his ambitions for the future.

      Here is a summary of the gaffer's comments, as well as his special Christmas message for football lovers and Juventus supporters.

      “I believe this squad has a lot of quality, but this is something I often say to my players: I believe we need to have even greater faith in our ability because Juventus have to make a step up and I think we need to do it above all in Europe.

      “You need to be aware of how good you are in order to make that step up in Europe, as well as having a good chance of progressing in the competition, that's the aim you need to have. It would be doing a disservice to Juventus if the club were simply content to make the Champions League last 16 and it's not enough for Juventus to be happy with only winning the league.”

      “We'll definitely see a title race involving us and Roma in 2015, the other sides are 12 points behind and that's a big gap. There are still a lot of games to go before we get to the crunch match at Roma, and if we're still locked together, that could go a long way towards deciding the fate of the title race.”

      “On the one hand we're very angry and disappointed about not winning that trophy, but on the other hand we put in a good performance – apart from the last five minutes after we led 2-1 – against a good Napoli side. I believe that game showed that the level of Italian football is still good and the two sides both played decent, entertaining football.”

      “There's absolutely no issue with Pirlo because I have to try and manage Andrea. It's pointless trying to hide behind things that don't exist. Andrea is 35. In my mind, Andrea should play every game but I have to consider his age. I need to manage his playing time to get the best out of him, especially in certain matches and certain situations. But I've spoken to Andrea and we agree on everything.

      “Marchisio is a very tactically astute footballer who brings me a lot of balance in the middle of the park. He's obviously not a player I've discovered and I think he's one of the best Italian midfielders around.

      “Buffon has proved to be a very nice surprise. He really is an incredible man and I think that when he stops being Juventus goalkeeper, finding someone – and I'm not saying on the same level – to replace Buffon in goal won't be easy.”

      “Unfortunately we're very defeatist in Italy. I see things differently. Over the last 30 years, we won the 1982 World Cup, the 2006 World Cup, lost a final on penalties at USA '94 and reached the final of Euro 2012, so we must be doing something right. In that time our club sides also reached a lot of Champions League finals and Juventus, AC Milan and Inter all won the competition. It's above all over the last four years that Italy's club sides haven't performed as well in Europe. The national team and clubs go hand in hand.”

      “I wish everyone a merry Christmas: that goes to Juventus fans first and foremost and then all Italian football supporters, thinking a little more positively that Italian football isn't that bad at all.” 

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