Allegri thanks Mandzukic for red card in Udinese rout
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri thanked Mario Mandzukic for getting sent off in his side's pulsating 6-2 win over Udinese at Stadio Friuli.
The Croatia striker received his marching orders for two quick-fire yellow cards midway through the first half when the Bianconeri were 2-1 ahead.
The hosts took advantage of their numerical superiority just after the break as Danilo headed in, before a stirring fightback saw Juve score four times without reply to seal a first Serie A win in three games.
Rather than lambast Mandzukic for his stupidity, Allegri instead explained the 31-year-old's dismissal forced his side to play a different, and ultimately successful, way.
"I wanted to rest Mandzukic for the next game anyway," he joked on Mediaset Premium. "In fact, I want to thank him, because we had to get back to winning games by defending and suffering for the result, so we can only thank him.
“Over the last two games we had decent performances, but we needed something like this. Down to 10 men, the team was much more focused.
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“I said beforehand that this was a key moment in the season, as it would allow us to close up on the leaders. A negative result tonight would’ve been really difficult to swallow. Our fitness levels are growing, players are returning from injury and it’ll be important going forward.
“Sami Khedira’s presence has also helped Miralem Pjanic in midfield. The first year, Khedira was with Pogba and he would push forward when he felt it necessary, but we are a different team now, much more attack-minded.”
Khedira was the pick of the Juve players, scoring a superb hat-trick, but the Germany international was refusing to get carried away after such an emphatic victory.
"I’m happy that we won this difficult game, as it was super important after the two matches against Atalanta and Lazio. It’s the first hat-trick of my career, so that’s great, but I am above all happy with the win," he told Sky Sport Italia.
"It’s always difficult for Juventus when we’re not winning, especially after Mario’s red card. It was not easy for us, but we are still one of the best teams in Europe and we proved that today.
"We always said there’s a long way to go, but after yesterday’s result it was very important we win today. It’s still super difficult, as we have SPAL in the midweek round and then Milan next weekend."