Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus team is under no false impressions that they played anything resembling “attractive” or “entertaining” soccer during Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Monaco (highlights below), which saw the soon-to-be-crowned Serie A champions through to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, and to put it simply, they couldn’t care less.
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Following the game, first-year Juve left back Patrice Evra put Wednesday’s performance in the plainest terms, saying, “We played ‘Italian’ – it’s solid, it’s ugly, but it happens.”
Ugly, it was. Juve held just 43 percent of the game’s possession and managed to create just five shooting chances over the course of 90 minute, putting one on target. The flip side, of course, is that the Old Lady were very organized and practically impossible to break down on the day. Monaco may have had 57 percent of possession, but they managed just 12 shots in total themselves, with just one testing goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Allegri was equally honest and proud as Evra in his assessment of Wednesday’s defend-first-second-and-third gameplan, telling Mediaset Premium, “The objective was simply to reach the semifinals. We might not have played very attractive football, but it’s difficult to take on Monaco and we made many technical mistakes.
“I think it was a good performance defensively, as we allowed almost nothing to Monaco. At the end of the day, the result counts for more than the performance.
Ask any Juve supporter how they’re feeling this evening and they’ll surely tell you, just the same as Chelsea fans, that as long as the results continue to roll in, they couldn’t care less the tactics or complete lack of attacking nature that goes into the trophies they lift.
While Juve will undoubtedly be the biggest underdogs of the final four teams in this year’s Champions League — Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are the three others — they’ll pose perhaps the greatest challenge of any prospective opponent to come out of the draw. Breaking down an organized, extremely well-drilled team is an undertaking that not even the likes of Barca, Real or Bayern will relish. Make one small mistake to gift Juve an early goal, and it would be a long 180-minute series for any team in the world.