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The €90 million striker was on the bench for Sunday's defeat to the Nerazzurri, but the coach feels he made the right call with his starting XI

Massimiliano Allegri has defended his decision to leave Gonzalo Higuain out of the starting XI as Juventus surprisingly lost 2-1 to Inter on Sunday.

The Argentina international, signed for a club-record fee of €90 million from Napoli in July, netted three goals in his first three Serie A appearances for the Bianconeri and started at home to Sassuolo last week.

But he was back on the bench in the Derby d'Italia at San Siro, where the reigning champions gave up the lead to suffer their first defeat of 2016-17. 

READ MORE | Inter defeat burns - Allegri

But Allegri maintains he was justified in his decision.

"I thought about playing a physical game and I needed him when the match was in progress," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, having introduced the former Real Madrid player in the 74th minute.

"I am convinced that the initial squad was right. But If I leave out Mario Mandzukic, you'll ask about him."

Juve, who trail Higuain's former club Napoli by one point at the top of the Serie A table, are at home to Cagliari on Wednesday.