Massimiliano Allegri blamed his team’s finishing and sloppy decision-making which led to Juventus’ defeat to Manchester United.
While what the former AC Milan manager says has its truths, in fact it is he who must also shoulder the blame for their loss. In the 83rd minute, the Livorno native decided to throw on Andrea Barzagli for Mattia De Sciglio in a bid to shore up the defence.
Instead of throwing on Mario Mandzukic sooner in order to win the game, Allegri’s defensive mentality came back to haunt him in Europe. Significantly his penchant for having such a mentality has costed him and Juve before.
In last season’s quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid, the Turin giants managed to claw their way into the tie back by scoring three goals to make it 3-3on aggregate, which was remarkable after they conceded three goals in Turin in the first leg.
Indeed Juve’s attacking display in Madrid bore it fruits however once they were level on aggregate, things went awry as they retreated into their shell. In the end that bore disastrous consequences as Los Blancos’ constant pressure earned them a penalty, which Cristiano Ronaldo converted to send Juve out of the competition.
Although Juve’s rise as a force in European football has been thanks to their defence, Allegri must realise that attack is the best form of defence. More so now especially when they have someone of Ronaldo’s calibre to spur them on.
Against sides like Manchester United Juve need to impose themselves in a manner which reflects the scoreline and to do that is to always have an attacking mentality. United when compared to Juve are a side whose abilities are limited while for the Italian champions, the sky is the limit. Allegri must abandon his defensive mentality if he is to lead the Scudetto holders to Champions League glory.