Massimiliano Allegri has regretted Juventus’ previous Champions League lapses after Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat at Benfica condemned them to their first group stage exit since 2013-14.
Juventus traveled to the Estadio da Luz knowing only a win would keep them in contention for a top-two spot in Group C, but were stunned by a scintillating performance from Benfica.
Rafa Silva’s brace, along with goals from Antonio Silva and Joao Mario, put Benfica into a 4-1 lead after 50 minutes, and the hosts held on when Juventus responded through Arkadiusz Milik and Weston McKennie late in the game.
A 2-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa earlier this month left Juventus needing maximum points in their last two games to hope to progress, and Allegri believes their Champions League fate was all but sealed before his trip to Portugal.
“We’re sorry and angry, but the elimination didn’t happen today, but in previous matches,” Allegri said.
“There’s no need to go down, we wouldn’t want these things to happen, but they do happen.
“There must be a path of growth. Unfortunately, we conceded a goal from the penalty spot to make it 2-1 and then you saw the game. We have to keep working.”
Juventus scored several unwanted pieces of history at Benfica, conceding three first-half goals for the first time in a Champions League game and losing a fourth game in a single group stage campaign for the entire first time.
The Bianconeri are also 10 points clear of the top of Serie A after a disappointing start to the season, and speculation over Allegri’s future is sure to intensify following Tuesday’s loss.
However, the Juventus boss opted to remain philosophical after their departure, challenging his side to respond with a new league form.
“Failure? No. These evenings come, defeats come. It must be an opportunity to dive back into the championship,” added Allegri.
“You fall to get up. I would have liked to play the last game with Paris Saint-Germain to force Benfica out. The reality is this, let’s focus on the future.
“We have to react, we have a championship to play for, there is a Europa League to win. It won’t be easy, there are players to recover. Starting tomorrow, all we have to do is get back to work.
“The first part of the season was more difficult than expected but we have 20 days to do well, then at the end of [World Cup] break, we will recover almost all the players.”