28.01.2016 00:59 - in: Coppa Italia S

      Allegri: “Work still to do”

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      Massimiliano Allegri hails a superb Juve showing in Wednesday’s semi-final first-leg win over Inter but knows his side still have work to do to reach a second consecutive Coppa Italia final

      Such is the nature of this Juventus side, in particular its coach Massimiliano Allegri, that after a 14th consecutive victory across the league and Coppa Italia, there is still an unrelenting hunger for more.

      So, while Allegri was naturally delighted with his team’s latest superb showing, this time defeating Inter 3-0 to give themselves a commanding semi-final first-leg lead, the Tuscan was equally keen to ensure his charges keep their feet firmly on the ground and carry their superb form into the testing two months ahead.

      Reflecting on Wednesday’s events at Juventus Stadium, he began, “Every aspect of our game is in great shape at the moment. We played very well against what is a very good Inter side.

      “We were solid defensively and perhaps we could have been better at keeping the ball and building our attacks from deep. The boys have put smiles on the faces of everyone at the club but we are not in the final yet.”

      “We must not rest on our laurels and think too much about the first half of the season. While we won nine in a row before Christmas, we earned too few points before that run. It will take real quality to win what is now effectively a 17-game championship.

      “When you are in the midst of a winning streak you need to stay focused, keep yourself grounded, put in the same hard work in training and ensure you don’t lose the solidity that got you in that position in the first place.”

      While taking nothing for granted in what has been a devilishly unpredictable season so far, the Bianconeri boss is at least safe in the knowledge that the strength and depth of his squad will make his side a menace to anyone right into the spring.

      “The most important thing is to stay level-headed and keep in mind that we haven’t achieved anything yet. We have a tough run of fixtures ahead and I know I can swap a few players in and out and still be sure that the quality of our performances won’t drop off.”

      “We’ve made ourselves firm favourites to reach the final but there are still another 90 minutes to be played at the San Siro. It isn’t over yet.”

      Passing on to the standout performers of the night, there was inevitably a word on Alvaro Morata’s return to the scoresheet following his first brace for the club since last term’s 7-0 thumping of Parma. For Allegri, the Spaniard’s strikes were the fruit of another hard-working and selfless showing from the 23-year-old.

      “Alvaro’s goals are always important and he has been doing well recently even if he hasn’t been finding the net. He showed great technique and composure to break the deadlock tonight, particularly for his second strike, which was superb.

      “Forwards’ heads can drop when they are not scoring regularly but they don’t stop being good players in the space of a month or so.”

      Yet Alvaro was not the only man to catch the coach’s eye, with Kwadwo Asamoah also earning praise for an “excellent” shift in the centre of the Juventus midfield.

      “Asamoah was brilliant tonight in all aspects of his play. When the team are in great form, every team selection can be difficult and it’s never easy leaving the other guys out of the side. The further we go in the cups though, the more playing time there will be for everyone.”

      Speaking of reaching the business end of knockout competitions, the Tuscan rounded off proceedings with a nod to February’s Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich which draws closer with every passing week.

      “We’ve got a good chance of qualifying, we’ll need a touch of luck, as you do in any competition, but we’ll ensure we will have prepared for the match in the best possible way. It will be a yardstick to judge how far we have come together. Juve must always play to win.”

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