Juve are more confident than 2015, says Allegri

LONDON • Massimiliano Allegri believes Juventus have nothing to fear against Real Madrid in the Champions League final today and that there is much more "positivity" around the club than when he arrived in 2014.

No team have fallen at the last hurdle of Europe's top club competition more often than Juventus. But if that was playing on the manager's mind then he has done a fine job of concealing it.

"It's an important match but we just need to do the same things we have done all year," he said. "Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity. When I arrived there was this great sense of negativity."

To illustrate that, he highlighted the way the club's European Cup history is commonly discussed.

"Juventus have played in eight finals - they haven't just lost six of them. Getting there is important in itself," said the Italian.

He is clear Juventus feel like they belong on this stage. "Since Berlin, we have grown in self-confidence," he said of the 2015 final, when they lost 3-1 to Barcelona.

That claim is bolstered by Juventus' performances in Europe this season. Their path to the final two years ago was fraught, taking in a second-place group-stage finish and a 1-0 aggregate win against Monaco. This season, they have won all three of their knockout ties by a three-goal margin.

"We feel better than we did back then," defender Giorgio Chiellini said. "We have improved our quality and technique. But just having played in certain matches helps you to arrive at big battles like this one in the best kind of shape."

That shape is still uncertain, with both manager and defender refusing to reveal tactical plans.

"The formation is all relative," Chiellini said when asked whether he perceived his role in Allegri's latest hybrid formation as being part of a back four or back three.

"We defend as an 11... The important thing is willingness and sacrifice, those are the secrets of this year."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Juve are more confident than 2015, says Allegri'. Print Edition | Subscribe