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Allegri: Ancelotti a smart man

Massimiliano Allegri lauded opposite number Carlo Ancelotti, ahead of Juventus’ UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid.

Allegri’s men sealed a fourth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday, but immediately turn their attention to European honours – as they bid to reach the Champions League final for the first time in 12 years.

Allegri acknowledged he is coaching against a superior when the first leg kicks off at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday.

“Carlo is a great manager, and a smart man. He had great results in European competitions,” Allegri said. 

“I value him a lot also as a person. As a manager during his career he was able to win in Italy, England, France and Spain so I think I don’t need to add more [plaudits]. 

“That simply means that he is a manager with extremely important qualities.”

Allegri flagged his prediction Ancelotti would stick to a customary back four.

“We will play with four defenders, I’m telling you so you are happy, and with the maths we are done,” Allegri said. 

“Ancelotti will play with four defenders, and so we will do [too].”

Midfielder Paul Pogba remains on track to return from a hamstring injury for the second leg of their semi-final tie, which has been his aim since incurring the problem in the last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Allegri, diplomatically, also rued the absence of Real midfielder Luka Modric (knee).

“I’m obviously sorry for the fact that Modric and Pogba won’t be playing tomorrow night, it would have been more interesting if they could play,” Allegri said. 

“I hope to have Pogba for the second leg.”

Tue 5 May, 2015
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