Turin, Feb 14 (IANS) Despite frittering away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home against Tottenham Hotspur in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes the Italian football champions will approach the return leg in London like a final.
Gonzalo Higuain scored one from a free-kick and converted a penalty to give the hosts a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes but the London football club battled back with strikes from Harry Kane (35th minute) and Christian Eriksen (71st) on Tuesday.
“We didn’t have enough men at the front. Football is strange. We were all aware we are in the knock-out rounds against a physical, tactical and technical side. The result is still open. We are going to London to play in a final and we will have to be very good to go through,” Allegri was quoted as saying by ESPNFC after the game.
“The team played well, with chances to go 3-0 and 3-1. We played against a team that played very well especially after they received two goals. We go to London tied and we play a final, and probably they will be under more pressure than us.”
Despite Tottenham enjoying the bigger share of ball possession, Allegri said that his side was in contention.
“We started well and then had difficulties managing the ball because they were good at that, but don’t think had a lot of chances apart from (Gianluigi) Buffon’s save (from Kane).
“Second half we had opportunity to score more but the team played very well. We suffered the first goal, a ball that was not our fault and then a free kick. It could have been 3-1. Football gives and football takes. We shouldn’t get depressed. If someone thought Juventus could win 4-0 that was not realistic,” Allegri said.
Both teams came to the match at the Allianz Stadium in great form, with Juventus hoping to extend their winning streak to 12 against a side that have lost only once since November.
“Juventus has never been favourites in this tie. We had 50 per cent possibility before the match and also after this match,” Allegri said downplaying their favourites tag owing to more experience in the competition in which they have won twice and reached nine finals.
“Winning the Champions League is a dream, it’s our objective but it’s not easy at all. You’ve missed reality. Juve is playing to win the Champions League, but we’re not the favourites.
“Every year we play to reach the final and we do our best and the players have to be very happy with their performances. I’m happy with the players. Of course there’s always room for improvement,” he added.
The Italian champions will travel to London for the second leg on March 7, where Allegri claimed Spurs will be under more pressure to go through.