Juventus risk elimination from the UEFA Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2013/14 season under Antonio Conte. However, coach Max Allegri, who has been in the limelight for the Bianconeri’s poor start to the season, has a solid plan for ousting Portuguese giants Benfica away at the Estado da Luz.
“We are not in the Europa League and we are not out of the Champions League. We will try to have the opportunity. Benfica own their own destiny, even if they lose with us tomorrow. They are one of the few that have not yet lost, tomorrow I will have to play a game as I did for most of the first leg, lengthening the minutes of intensity, of the defensive phase, knowing that Benfica have quality, when they play with their own public they have a different drive, it will be necessary to be level-headed, without being in a hurry. But playing with the same compactness, even improving it. We know that Benfica are an excellent team.”
He however didn’t deny the possibility of a drop to the UEFA Europa League
“No, I would be very sorry, but let’s not think about this. We keep the door open, then if Benfica win the last one we go to the Europa League. Tomorrow is good to live, to play, the team is fine, physically and mentally, the important thing is that we play a compact game.”
Despite their poor start to the season, Allegri feels his team are ready to take on the challenge.
“You need to have maximum attention, the risk is too much euphoria, too much enthusiasm leads us to lower the immune defenses, which must be raised. So you have to play a game of great attention, the boys have prepared well and we are ready.”
Juventus have won just one of their seven European games against Benfica (D1, L5), while history also favors the hosts, as they have won all three of their home matches against the Bianconeri.
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