Massimiliano Allegri was rightfully pleased after Juventus defeated an in-form Inter to triumph in the Derby d'Italia. Speaking after Sunday's match, settled by Juan Cuadrado's thunderbolt on the stroke of half time, the boss lauded the quality of football on show and his players' ability to overcome first-rate opponents:
“It was wonderful to watch, a real top-quality match. With the level of football on display and the players involved it was like a Champions League semi-final, and if we want to continue in the Champions League we'll need to play like we did today. In the first half we got caught on the counter a couple of times and our opponents had a few chances but then we gave very little away after the break. We fashioned plenty of opportunities but weren't able to kill the game off. We were up against an excellent side who, fortunately for us, made a slow start to the campaign. But with the squad they have Inter are perfectly capable of challenging for the title."
Room for improvement
“We need to take one step at a time. In order to win games, first and foremost you need to keep things tidy. There are times when we try to get the ball forward too quickly and in the first half today we let Inter in a couple of times, although we also managed to create plenty of chances ourselves. We need to keep improving. We have a wonderful tie awaiting us in the Champions League and if we want to go all the way we need to dominate games and possession more – especially if we're playing with more attacking players. We occasionally get our timing wrong but overall we're on the right track. That doesn't mean we've completely abandoned our old formation though, because we'll need to rest people from time to time. If I have the players who allow me to use a system like this then we'll go with it. If I pick other players with different attributes, then we might not be able to play 4-2-3-1. Football is a very simple game and it comes down to the type of players you have at your disposal. It's not just about choosing a formation because you can't reduce it to a simple numbers equation. We'll need to pick up points against Crotone on Wednesday and rest a few of the lads. I have a great squad so I'll be able to rotate.”
“All the lads gave their all out there. [Paulo] Dybala came off but he could just as easily have stayed on. [Stephan] Lichtsteiner had already come off and I needed some height out there so I brought on [Daniele] Rugani. [Giorgio] Chiellini was immense and [Leo] Bonucci played well too – he's improving loads. We showed we're in good physical shape because we kept on running in the second half. [Claudio] Marchisio wasn't 100% but he will be in a month's time. He did well today and I'm pleased.”
Raising the bar
“If we win the league this season we'll win it with a four-point lead because the other teams, Napoli and Roma, will finish with more than 85 points. The Champions League is not an obsession of ours. When I joined Juventus our aim was to get through the group stage. Perhaps I was a bit crazy but I was sure we could reach the final with the team we had and that's what we did. We realise we can raise the bar even higher. We have enough self-belief to achieve our target. We do need to improve though – if we want to beat Porto, for a start. They have plenty of experience in games like this.”