Coppa Italia


Massimiliano Allegri praised his side’s second-half reaction after they came from a goal down to beat Napoli 3-1 in the first leg of their TIM Cup semi-final on Tuesday night.

“We did well after the break following a poor first half,” said the boss after the final whistle. “We got taken in by a couple of one-twos, though we didn’t actually give them too many chances and even had opportunities ourselves with [Gonzalo] Higuain and then [Mario] Mandzukic and [Stephan] Lichtsteiner. We needed to move the ball around more quickly but we made a few mistakes and gave the ball away a bit. That said, we did improve in the second half.”

Allegri was keen to the focus on the positives rather than dwell on an off-colour first 45 minutes: “I have to congratulate the whole side, particularly for their impressive second-half performance,” said the coach. “It was a good reaction after they had gone a goal down – we improved on a physical level after break and our play was a lot more well organised, so I’m pleased with that. Napoli are always a tough side to face, but we’re getting better. We finished the match very strongly and that shows that the lads are in good shape.”

Despite the win, which puts Juventus in the driving seat ahead of the return leg in Naples, Allegri was quick to stress that his players should still be focused on raising their game: “This side still has plenty of room for improvement, both in terms of their quality and intensity,” he said. “I have to hand it to them, but one player who has really come on is [Miralem] Pjanic. He’s been doing great things both in terms of building our play and breaking up our opponents’.

(Photo LaPresse)