Barcelona, April 20 (IANS) Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has said the victory over FC Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final tie was a decisive step on the road to Cardiff, where the final of the tournament will be played.
After taking a healthy 3-0 lead from the first leg to Nou Camp, Juventus held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the second leg here on Wednesday night to seal a place in the semi-finals.
“We have to compliment the lads for all they are doing this season. It’s a step forward, a deserved qualification against a top level opponent,” Allegri told Italin publication Mediaset.
“We did very well defensively, less so in attack where we failed to make the most of very promising counter-attacks. We were under the normal amount of pressure here, but it was a decisive step on the road to Cardiff.”
“Barcelona failing to score goals over two legs is almost unheard of. The lads need to realise that they can do even better and we are slowly improving,” he added.
Allegri said Juventus must not get ahead of themselves and focus on the job at hand in the Serie A — the top division football league in Italy.
“We mustn’t get ahead of ourselves, but it’s right to feel enthusiasm and tomorrow we need to focus on Serie A. Celebration? Well … it’s the decisive moment of the campaign, these lads have a great sense of duty and professionalism. What I like best is that I don’t need to tell them off about that.
“We should’ve been calmer and sharper when spreading their play, but it’s not easy to do that here, as Barcelona are a completely different team on home turf. They move the ball around so quickly and only a great Juventus could’ve qualified,” Alegri said.
“I am happy with what the lads are doing, but the key is not to maintain current form, instead aiming to improve it. Everyone was extraordinary tonight and when Andrea Barzagli came on it felt like we could’ve played for a whole day and not conceded.”
Allegri credited the club’s management for roping in quality players.
“The club has worked very well to bring in players of quality who had different characteristics and it was my job to put them in a position to give their best,” he said.