Disappointment at exiting the Champions League is only natural, but Massimiliano Allegri made sure that pride and optimism would also count among his primary emotions after watching his players lead Bayern Munich for 85 minutes of Wednesday’s dramatic extra-time reverse at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena. He began:
“It hurts to bow out playing the way we did and after the chances we had to potentially extend our lead at 2-0 up as well as the opportunities to open up the tie again in extra-time. Finding yourselves 2-0 up in Munich is no easy thing and, by doing so, we showed tremendous character. All we needed to do was cope better in playing that final ball out from the back, but in truth, we’d been penned deep in our half for several minutes.”
While Allegri admitted that there was an air of inevitability about how Bayern clawed their way back into the tie, the Tuscan tactician could only praise the way his team performed in a notoriously tough stadium, stating it was a sure sign of how a newly assembled side was on an upward curve in their development.
“Towards the end we didn’t have anyone pressing their centre-backs up the pitch and so they were able to launch attacks with greater regularity. Nevertheless, we forced Bayern to play out of their skins on the night and we ultimately came within a whisker of qualifying for the quarter-finals. This match represented an important test for us and leading for the majority of the tie is a cause for optimism in terms of our future growth.”