Massimiliano Allegri criticized Juventus’ previous shortcomings in the Champions League after Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat at Benfica sentenced them to their first exit from the group stage since 2013-14.
Juventus went to the Estadio da Luz knowing that only a win would keep them in contention for a top two placement in Group C, but were stunned by a sparkling performance from Benfica.
Rafa Silva’s brace, as well as goals from Antonio Silva and Joao Mario, gave Benfica a 4-1 lead after 50 minutes, and the hosts held out when Juventus responded with Arkadiusz Milik and Weston McKennie in the final .
The 2-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa earlier this month meant Juventus needed maximum points in their last two games to have any hope of progress, and Allegri believes his Champions League fate was almost scored before the trip to Portugal.
“We are sorry and angry, but the elimination did not come today, but in the previous matches,” said Allegri.
“It is not necessary to go down, we would not want these things to happen, but they do.
“There must be a growth path. Unfortunately we conceded a goal from a 2-1 penalty, then we saw the game. We have to keep working.”
Juventus wrote several unwanted bits of history at Benfica, conceding three first-half goals for the first time in a Champions League match and losing a fourth match in a single group stage for the first time ever.
The bianconeri are also 10 points from the Serie A summit after a disappointing start to the season and speculations about Allegri’s future will certainly intensify after Tuesday’s defeat.
However, the Juventus coach chose to remain philosophical after the exit, challenging his team to respond with a renewed series of league forms.
“Failure? No. These evenings happen, defeats happen. It must be an opportunity to dive back into the championship,” Allegri added.
“You fall to get up. I would have liked to have played the last match with Paris Saint-Germain to oust Benfica. The reality is this, let’s focus on the future.
“We have to react, we have a championship to play, there is a Europa League to win. It will not be easy, there are players to recover. From tomorrow we just have to get back to work.
“The first part of the season was more difficult than expected but we have 20 days to do well, then to [World Cup] break we will recover almost all the players “.