Juventus face an uphill struggle to overcome Atletico Madrid in the second leg but Massimiliano Allegri says it can be done
Massimiliano Allegri insisted his side are “not dead yet” following a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.
Juve were downed by two late strikes from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin and had earlier been spared by a VAR decision that denied Alvaro Morata a goal against his former club.
With Juve facing an uphill struggle to reach the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg in Turin next month, Allegri claimed his side had been forced to play badly by their hosts.
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“The second half was ugly, as we made the mistake of going after them,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “Atleti are very good at letting a game go by without a shot on goal.
“We had already risked ourselves on a breakaway and lost a ball, but the fact is that in the second half we did not have a shot on goal. Atleti came out much more aggressively on set plays and caught us by surprise.
“Now we have the chance to turn this around. We must have faith, we’ll have some players back and there’s no point crying over spilt milk.
“We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.
“We got the approach wrong in the second half. It’s that simple.
“These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this, but we can turn it around. It won’t be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.
“We’re not dead yet, we weren’t dead after losing 3-0 at home to Real Madrid [in the group stage], let alone now we’ve got the second leg at home.
“It’s important to maintain the focus, organisation and keep our heads, because everything can be overturned.”
The second leg is scheduled to be played on March 12, but before then the reigning Italian champions face Bologna this Sunday in Serie A, before a huge clash against title-rivals Napoli.