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Juventus’ Champions League critics driving Max Allegri ‘crazy’

Juventus’ Champions League critics driving Max Allegri ‘crazy’
All seemed lost for Tottenham after ten minutes but Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen dragged Spurs back from a 2-goal deficit to take control of the tie heading back to Wembley.
The FC crew pinpoint how Tottenham were able to turn around an early 2-0 deficit at Juventus and gain the advantage in their Champions League tie ahead of the second leg.
All seemed lost for Tottenham after ten minutes but Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen dragged Spurs back from a 2-goal deficit to take control of the tie heading back to Wembley.

TURIN, Italy — Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri accused his team’s critics of losing touch with reality after the 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the Champions League, claiming the hosts were never favourites for the match.

Juve squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 in the round-of-16 first leg and they were second best after Gonzalo Higuain’s double — a smart volley and a penalty — had put them in complete control inside eight minutes.

Harry Kane halved the deficit before Higuain missed a second penalty and Juve were made to pay when Christian Eriksen equalised with a direct free kick after half-time.

Afterwards, a furious Allegri dismissed the suggestion that Juve — who have reached two Champions League finals in the last three seasons — are among the competition’s favourites and said their priority is to a seventh successive Serie A title this year.

“Juventus has never been favourites in this tie. We had 50 percent possibility before the match and also after this match,” Allegri said.

“Winning the Champions League is a dream, it’s our objective but it’s not easy at all. You’ve missed reality. Juve is playing to win the Champions League, but we’re not the favourites.

“Every year we play to reach the final and we do our best and the players have to be very happy with their performances. I’m happy with the players. Of course there’s always room to improvement.

Gonzalo Higuain reacts after missing a penalty against Tottenham.
Gonzalo Higuain reacts after missing a penalty for Juventus against Tottenham.

“Winning 3-0 shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s not so obvious. This drives me crazy because the size and impact of other teams is important. The priority of Juventus is the seventh championship and we’re about to play in the Coppa Italia.

“We’ll try to win the Champions League but if you believe a draw like tonight could depress us, I don’t accept it. There’s always ups and downs. If we draw with Tottenham in the Champions League, it’s not a big loss, it’s not a defeat!”

Asked what had happened to his players following Higuain’s second goal — a spot kick after Ben Davies had fouled Federico Bernardeschi — Allegri said: “Tottenham reacted. We made mistakes especially with balls out.

“We didn’t have enough men at the front. Football is strange. We were all aware we are in the knock-out rounds against a physical, tactical and technical side. The result is still open. We are going to London to play in a final and we will have to be very good to go through.

“We started well and then had difficulties managing the ball because they were good at that, but don’t think had a lot of chances apart from [Gianluigi] Buffon’s save [from Kane].

“Second half we had opportunity to score more but the team played very well. We suffered the first goal, a ball that was not our fault and then a free kick. It could have been 3-1. Football gives and football takes. We shouldn’t get depressed. If someone thought Juventus could win 4-0 that was not realistic.”

Juve will travel to London for the second leg on March 7, where Allegri claimed Spurs will be under more pressure to go through.

“The team played well, with chances to go 3-0 and 3-1,” he added. “We played against a team that played very well especially after they received two goals. We go to London tied and we play a final, and probably they will be under more pressure than us.”

Dan is ESPN FC’s Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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