Max Allegri reveals the rather simple half-time advice that helped Juventus beat Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-final and hit back at critics. ‘Fans need to cheer on the team.’

The coach was under fire following a run of dismal results, culminating in Saturday’s 1-0 Serie A defeat to Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.

Things weren’t looking too reassuring at half-time tonight either, with jeers from the crowd after Luis Alberto’s header came off the crossbar and a penalty was revoked due to Andrea Cambiaso’s offside position, but they came out fighting after the break with goals from Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic.

“The decisions of the referee and VAR are to be respected, so there’s no point debating it,” Allegri told Mediaset when pushed on the offside call.

“The important thing was to get back to winning ways, even if the Coppa Italia is a different tournament to Serie A. The first half was very balanced, we accelerated in the second half, got two goals against a very strong Lazio side, but it’s not over and we must do well in the second leg too.”

What did Allegri say at half-time to transform the team, because there did not seem to be any tactical or personnel changes?

“I told them to run towards the opposition goal… That’s the truth, you know. When I say football is a simple sport, I really do believe that. I told them to run towards the opposition goal and we’d figure something out,” shrugged the coach.

It allows them to take a 2-0 lead with them into the second leg of the semi-final, which is at the Stadio Olimpico on April 23, but Federico Gatti will be suspended.

The mood in the Juventus camp and with Allegri himself did not seem particularly festive, so he got some things off his chest.

“We have to get this season sorted one brick at a time to achieve the objectives that we had set. This negative period was down to everyone, first and foremost me. There are moments in football, the lads did well to keep their balance and above all have the mental strength to play like this.

“I am sad to say it, because Alex Sandro has 300 games for Juventus, he won five Scudetto titles, is a great professional and deserves respect. It’s not good to hear some in the crowd jeer him, especially as he came on and made two crucial tackles.”

There does seem to be an odd civil war within the Allianz Juventus Stadium crowd, with the ‘ultras’ singing Allegri’s name and those in the other areas of the stands jeering at half-time, sparking an angry reaction.

“I respect the fans and the fans need to cheer on the team,” added Allegri.

“Many things can be said, but nobody can doubt our effort. The lads played as a team this evening, with great humility and determination. They need to enjoy this night, because they fully deserved it.”

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