Massimiliano Allegri praised Cristiano Ronaldo after he scored on his return, though the Juventus boss demanded more from the team heading into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Ajax.
Ronaldo was back in action following a muscle injury sustained on international duty last month and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner marked his return with a goal in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw away from home.
The Juve star showed no signs of that thigh problem as he sprinted into the penalty area and headed past Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on the stroke of half-time in Amsterdam.
David Neres restored parity within seconds of the second half restarting – the Dutch hosts producing a dominant display at the Johan Cruijff ArenA midweek.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 10, 2019
Asked about Ronaldo post-match, head coach Allegri told reporters: “He was just coming back, he ran a lot and he played a good game.
“He started the action and he wrapped it up [with the goal]. This is Ronaldo.
“But I would add that in the second leg we have to do better as a team and most of all when have possession of the ball and they are pressing us.”
Ronaldo quarter-final record
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 10, 2019
Juve face a difficult task at home to Ajax in Turin on April 16 after the Eredivisie powerhouse stunned three-time reigning champions Real Madrid in the first knockout stage.
Ajax lost 2-1 at home to Madrid in the opening leg before routing the Spanish giants 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the last 16, and Allegri is wary of Erik ten Hag’s side.
“A team that is capable to eliminate Real Madrid and to win 4-1 at Bernabeu, they are not simply a young, quality team, they’re a team that defeated Real Madrid in the round of 16 and play in the quarters,” Allegri said.
“We knew that at home they would have played a game like this. In Turin it will be different, but they have the personality to come to our stadium and play with their technical qualities.
“We have to be much better because when you manage to escape from their pressure, you find a desert between you and the goal, which is something that happened in the first half, that happened in the second half, and that’s where we have to be much better.”
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