Allegri praises beaten Lazio after Lichtsteiner goal seals Juventus progress

Allegri praises beaten Lazio after Lichtsteiner goal seals Juventus progress

21/01/2016 at 06:43Updated 21/01/2016 at 06:56

Coppa Italia holders Juventus reached the semi-finals of this year's competition on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Lazio, the team they beat in last season's final.

Full back Stephan Lichtsteiner, who spent three seasons at Lazio before joining Juventus, scored the only goal in the 66th minute as his side continued their excellent recent form.

After a slow start to the season, Juventus have won their last 10 Serie A games to put them second in the table and back in the hunt for a fifth successive league title. They have also reached the last 16 of the Champions League.

Juve, who thumped neighbours Torino 4-0 in the previous round, will face old rivals Inter Milan in a two-leg semi-final. Lichtsteiner snapped up a rebound and the ball crossed the line before Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha could clear it, after Simone Zaza's shot had hit the p

“I have to compliment Lazio, as the first half was very balanced and they kept a high tempo,” coach Massimiliano Allegri told Rai Sport.

“Juventus lifted the tempo after the break, played a solid game and allowed not a single genuine shot on target, then we had several chances to finish it off.

“I compliment the lads, as this was in no way an easy match. I don’t like the term ‘squad rotation,’ as I have a very competitive team and it is always difficult to leave players out.

“Simone Zaza did well, Alvaro Morata improved in the second half and Martin Caceres worked very hard, which is important because we need him. To go forward in three competitions we need the entire squad to be in good physical and psychological shape.

“We must keep our feet on the ground and be aware we’ve achieved nothing yet.”

The semi-final is the only stage of the tournament to be played over two legs, though the dates of these fixtures are still to be decided.

“It will be a wonderful semi-final, you have to face the biggest clubs to reach the end, but right now we are focused on this weekend’s meeting with Roma.”

Allegri was asked about the incident from last night’s Coppa Italia match, which saw Inter boss Roberto Mancini accuse Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri of using homophobic slurs in a touchline row.

“I daren’t judge what others do, especially as I say you need to find yourself in certain situations. I will say we managers ought to set an example with our behaviour, as we are the leaders of this team and even under moments of pressure and tension we should try to maintain our calm. It’s not easy, but we should calm the situation and not stir up further tension.”