Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says his side are « sorry and angry » following their 4-3 Champions League loss at Benfica on Tuesday as they miss out on the knockout rounds for the first time since 2013/14.
The defeat means struggling Juve can only finish third in Group H, which would earn them a place in the Europa League knockout stages.
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« More than the wrong approach, I think we were too soft in defense in the first half, » Allegri told reporters. « We are disappointed and angry because we are out of the Champions League.
« Now we have to focus on the [Italian] league and also remain focused against Paris (Saint-Germain next Wednesday) because we have at least to book a place in the Europa League.
« We made too many mistakes tonight but it’s not useful to talk about that now. I don’t consider this a failure. In football there are also defeats.
« We are sorry and angry. The team finished well so it’s not a physical matter. We must continue working. »
It has been a poor season so far for Juve in Serie A as they languish in eighth place, 10 points off top spot, but Allegri hopes the players will take the battling spirit they showed in Lisbon into the domestic competition.
« Now let’s think about Serie A, let’s start from the last 20 minutes [of this game] and try to win at Lecce [on Saturday]. We must make the effort and continue to work to remain in the championship [race], » Allegri said.
« In the league we have four games before the [World Cup] break. We have to recover our energy, and with the players I have available we must do well. »
The coach brought on a trio of teenagers in the second half on Tuesday and all caught the eye, something he says bodes well for the future.
« I’m happy with the guys, they have quality. Fabio Miretti has played many games, Matias Soule and Samuel Iling entered well.
« We could have made better use of some opportunities at the end. But they gave that mental energy the team needed. »