Sunday, November 19, 2017

Allegri highlights Pjaca absence as key to Champions League final defeat

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 25 Jun 2017

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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes his side’s Champions League final loss at the hands of Real Madrid was partly due to the absence of Marko Pjaca.

The Croatian winger was unavailable due to a knee injury, with Allegri’s game-changing options from the bench limited as a result as Madrid won 4-1 in Cardiff.

Pjaca had been unavailable since March and Allegri says being unable to rotate his usual front four of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado and Mario Mandzukic was key to Juve’s flat second-half performance as Madrid proved to be too strong, defending their title in style.

“The idea was to be leading at half-time, or at least get into a leading position by the hour mark,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

“When we beat Real Madrid two years ago, that was a very different season, as we had more options and could change the game in the second half.

“This term we started with one style of football, then changed and the four in front used up a huge amount of energy for months.

“I hadn’t taken into account that Marko Pjaca could get injured, as he was improving and a player who, above all in Europe in a knock-out match, can make the difference.

“Not having Pjaca available, I had to push the other four harder and in the end some of them paid for that.”

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