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Juventus coach plays down talk on his future after Atletico defeat

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Rome, March 2 (IANS) Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri on Saturday denied that his job was at risk after the recent 2-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Allegri said his team was far from finished in the tournament. The Turin side has won the domestic Serie A league title in the last seven seasons, reports Efe.

“After Madrid, they counted us out as dead before we have even been eliminated. People were saying I would go away for a number of reasons, which are not true,” Allegri said at a press conference on the eve of Sunday’s Serie A match against Napoli.

“I will meet with the president and we will talk like every year and decide what to do next year,” he said.

On the road, Juventus conceded two late goals by Uruguay defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, but Allegri said his team, led by Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, was able to turn things around.

He called on fans to support the team and turn the page of the away defeat that drew him criticism.

The arrival of Ronaldo during the summer transfer raised fans’ hopes of a third Champions League title and the first since 1996, although the team reached the final five times since its second triumph, including the 2014/15 and 2016/17 championship matches under Allegri.

“Now we have to be focused on the remaining games, a championship that needs to be won and on the game on March 12, where everyone will be needed. What is needed is a stadium that will push the team for 95 minutes,” he said.

The first of the two remaining Serie A matches before hosting Atletico will be on the road against second-placed Napoli, who is 13 points adrift of Allegri’s team.

Allegri said this match would be decisive in his team’s hunt for the eighth title in a row and record extending 35th title.

“We will play for two thirds of the Scudetto, because in the case of a positive result, it will help our possibility (to win the league) a lot. It will be a great game because they want to beat us and demonstrate that they are better. It’s been a week or more that they have prepared for this game,” he said.



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