Allegri urges Juve to repeat Atletico performance in order to see off Ajax
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has warned it will take a repeat of his side’s Champions League heroics against Atletico Madrid in the previous round to see off Ajax.
Juve are favourites to reach the last four after drawing the first leg of their quarter-final 1-1 in Amsterdam last week when Cristiano Ronaldo’s 125th Champions League goal was cancelled out by Ajax’s David Neres.
But Allegri insists his side must replicate their second-leg performance against Atletico when they won 3-0 in Turin to overturn a 2-0 deficit.
“The result of the first leg doesn’t count for anything,” Allegri told a press conference. “It’s a one-off game and we need to play with the same attitude as we did against Atletico.
“We need to have a lot of respect for Ajax in defence and be precise in our movements.
“It will be a physical game. To counteract their play we need to be technically sound and we’ll have to play better than we did in the first game.”
Captain Giorgio Chiellini (calf) and striker Mario Mandzukic (knee) have yet to recover from injury and will miss out, while Allegri confirmed Douglas Costa (thigh) was not 100 per cent fit.
“Douglas Costa isn’t in perfect condition right now,” Allegri added. “Hopefully in (Tuesday’s) final training he can show me that he has at least 30 minutes in his legs, because he can be decisive.”
Juve missed out on the chance to clinch their eighth successive Serie A title at the weekend when they went down to a shock 2-1 defeat at SPAL.
Ajax, ahead of closest challengers PSV Eindhoven on goal difference at the top of Eredivisie, pulled off a stunning second-leg result of their own against Real Madrid in the previous round.
Erik ten Hag’s side lost the first leg at home 2-1, but stormed to a 4-1 win in the return leg at the Bernabeu to win a Champions League knockout tie for the first time in 22 years.
“At the start of the season, nobody expected us to be in the final eight of the Champions League,” Ten Hag told a press conference.
“But the team has developed to such an extent that we can compete with these giants. We believe in it and have faith in a good result. That is how we will meet Juventus.”
Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who will join Barcelona in the summer, is struggling with a hamstring strain but has not been ruled out.
Ten Hag added: “This team (Juventus] are a lot better than Real. They are very mature. We did very well last week and we will have to do that again.”