Allegri: ‘Extraordinary Monaco’

Max Allegri highlighted the importance of Radamel Falcao for Monaco, backed Gonzalo Higuain and warned Juventus to avoid repeating Bergamo errors.

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final kicks off at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Sami Khedira is suspended, so how will Juve change with Claudio Marchisio starting?

Max Allegri highlighted the importance of Radamel Falcao for Monaco, backed Gonzalo Higuain and warned Juventus to avoid repeating Bergamo errors.

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final kicks off at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Sami Khedira is suspended, so how will Juve change with Claudio Marchisio starting?

“The system doesn’t change. Khedira is a more physical player and Marchisio has more movement. Claudio is in good shape, has improved a lot over the last month and is an important player we have rediscovered,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Monaco play with great pace on vertical lines. They are very different to two seasons ago.”

Juventus have not conceded in the Champions League in 531 minutes of football, whereas Monaco found the net three times in each knockout game. What will give?

“Looking at the statistics, it’s easy to imagine a game in a certain way, but football is unpredictable. Monaco tend to score a lot in the final stages, so we need to have great respect for this team and get it into our heads that two legs have to be played to the best of our abilities, because this is very complicated.”

Roma are nine points behind Juventus now at the top of the Serie A table, does having the Scudetto in hand give more confidence?

“Naturally having a nine-point advantage with four games to go is good, but it changes nothing in our mentality or the way we are preparing this match. We have the same number of days to prepare for the Turin Derby, a match we absolutely want to win.”

Allegri’s Juventus knocked Monaco out of the Champions League two years ago. How have they changed since then?

“The statistics show Monaco have changed both in attack and defence. They tend to do much better in front of goal, whereas two years ago the characteristics of their players suggested much more solidity.

“Leonardo Jardim has done an extraordinary job. They are in the Champions League semi-final, ahead of PSG in Ligue 1, who were one of the big favourites to win the Champions League, so you can’t argue with that.

“Will I be the Juventus Coach next season? I will meet with the club later, but we don’t have the time right now, because we have other things to think about.”

Gonzalo Higuain has been decisive in Serie A this season, but not so much in the Champions League, despite the idea he was bought to truly challenge in Europe.

“Higuain was signed to improve the attacking potential of the squad. He is having a great campaign and scored many goals, but he’s not just valuable for his goals. He had a great game against Barcelona.

“If he scores tomorrow, you’ll probably start calling him ‘the Champions League man’, but the fact remains he’s having a wonderful season.”

Radamel Falcao is also spearheading the Monaco attack, not just 18-year-old talent Kylian Mbappe.

“Before the injury, Falcao was one of the best centre-forwards in the world. Now he is returning to an extraordinary and very dangerous striker.

“The numbers speak for Monaco. The forwards work well together, Falcao has experience and is a fox in the box, Mbappe has great pace and technique, loves running into space. The whole team has improved over two years.

“They also have very good midfielders and in defence. A team finds success if it is organised, but also has very good players.”

Allegri was asked what words of wisdom he’d have for the squad ahead of the semi-final tomorrow.

“In these games, the team knows what it should do and should not do. Tomorrow we must not play like we did in the first half against Atalanta, as that approach would cause huge problems against a side like Monaco with their characteristics.”

On Friday evening, Juventus drew 2-2 in Bergamo with Atalanta, conceding a last-gasp equaliser.

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