Allegri pleased with young Juventus team despite shock defeat

Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with a young Juventus team’s performance despite their Serie A title celebrations being put to a halt following a shock 2-1 defeat at SPAL.

Following Tuesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Ajax, Allegri fielded Juventus’ youngest line-up in the league for 20 years with an average age of just 25 years old.

17-year-old Paolo Gozzi Iweru became the youngest player to feature in the Serie A this season as part of a three-man Juventus defence as Allegri opted to use a 3-5-2 formation.

In fact, Andrea Barzagli and Juan Cuadrado were the only two players aged 30 or over to be in the starting eleven.

With just a point needed, Moise Kean appeared to set Juventus on their way by firing them into a first-half lead. The Italy international’s strike saw him become the youngest player to score in four successive Serie A matches.

But Kevin Bonifazi’s header in the second half put SPAL back on level terms before Sergio Floccari gave the hosts a shock 2-1 victory.

Nevertheless, Allegri had no regrets afterwards and praised his young team.

“Scudetto postponed? The boys did well and we played many young players with authority,” said Allegri, according to Calcio Mercato.

“We conceded two goals that were reviewable and missed some chances in the first half.

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“Gozzi did very well, even when [Andrea] Barzagli came out he played in an open field, just as [Grigoris] Kastanos, who, however, struggled as a mezzala because he doesn’t have the pace.

“[Hans] Nicolussi and [Stephy] Mavididi came in well. [Juan] Cuadrado came back well and [Paulo] Dybala did well, he ran and moved a lot, these are positive signs.”

The Italian praised Dybala’s performance after the Argentine striker made only his third start in eight games for Juventus.

“Does Dybala have to play more to get into a rhythm? He is a player who is in better condition when he plays,” said Allegri.

“Today he had fun, he wasn’t going through a nice psychological moment. It is not easy to take over a few minutes and today he gave me a good answer.

“He knows very well that he needs to fight for his position. Everybody will need it on Tuesday and therefore it is also good for this.”

The Bianconeri coach also confirmed that Blaise Matuidi will return for Tuesday’s return leg against Ajax in their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Giorgio Chiellini and Douglas Costa remain doubts, while Emre Can may make a return to the team.

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