Uefa Champions League

Juventus mastermind Allegri shuns plaudits after reaching Champions League final

Stunning Dani Alves volley helps Juve stroll into their second Champions League final in three years with 4-1 aggregate victory over Monaco

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 9:51am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 May, 2017, 9:38pm

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri deflected the praise after his side moved closer to the treble by beating AS Monaco to reach the Champions League final on Tuesday.

A stunning Dani Alves volley helped Juve stroll into their second Champions League final in three years, a 2-1 win on the night completing a 4-1 aggregate victory over outclassed Monaco.

“I don’t need people to talk about my merits,” said the phlegmatic coach. “I try to do my work serenely and with enthusiasm, but I’m not interested in the others saying that I’m the best.

“I really enjoy coaching. It helps me relax and when it starts to cause me stress, I will stop.”

Allegri was greeted with suspicion by some fans when he was appointed in July 2014 to replace Antonio Conte, having been sacked by AC Milan in his previous job.

But he won supporters over by winning a league and cup double and leading them to the Champions League final in his first season in charge, then claiming another double last season.

This season they are on the brink of winning Serie A and have again reached the cup and Champions League finals, making Allegri one of Europe’s most wanted coaches.

Juventus effectively finished off the tie by scoring twice in the first half.

The second half was marred when Monaco defender Kamil Glik stamped on Gonzalo Higuain’s thigh, a moment which Allegri said brought his team back to life just after the visitors had pulled a goal back.

“That foul woke us up,“ he said. “We learned that the game is never over, we have to be plugged in throughout.

“We should have been more concentrated on the corner and not let that goal in. I think that scuffle with Glik actually brought us back into the game.”

Often described as being past his best when he joined Juventus from Barcelona on a free transfer last June, the 34-year-old Alves was often mocked during the season.

But Alves had a man-of-the-match performance against Monaco, setting up Mario Mandzukic’s opener in the 33rd minute before getting on the scoresheet himself on the stroke of half-time with a sensational long-range volley.

“The most important thing is to help my team to win, whether scoring or providing assists,” Alves said. “I don’t score very often, so I’m happy, but in a way I prefer the assist to a goal, so everyone goes home happy.”

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid meet on Wednesday for the other second-leg match, with defending champions Real Madrid leading 3-0.

But Alves, who spent eight years at Real’s fierce rival Barcelona, insists he has no preference who Juventus meets in the final.

“Playing a final is enough motivation for me,” Alves said. “It doesn’t change anything for me if it is against Real Madrid, it would be a great match in world football.

“But Real still has a match to play. It won’t be Barcelona against Real Madrid, but Juventus against Real.”

There was one man who Alves didn’t need to prove anything: Allegri.

“Three months ago, some people wanted to strangle Dani Alves,” Allegri said with a smile. “But when a player is good, he’s good in June, September and the following June... he hasn’t turned mediocre.

“Anyways, Alves is not someone we’ve discovered in the past three months. He’s won 29 titles.”

Kylian Mbappe scored a consolation goal in the 69th minute for Monaco.

Additional reporting Associated Press