Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri believes that the introduction of Marouane Fellaini into the game on Wednesday night swayed the result for Manchester United.
The Turin-based club had taken the lead through a sublime strike from Cristiano Ronaldo who haunted his former employers throughout the game. However, the English giants won the game 2-1 on the night, with United boss Jose Mourinho becoming the centre of attention once again following his post-game conduct.
Allegri didn’t dwell on this though, and was brutally honest about Fellaini’s impact in the game. Mourinho brought on the experienced midfielder in the second half and his presence rattled the Juventus defenders with his direct approach causing severe problems for the home side. The Belgian’s header before Ashley Young’s crucial touch was diverted into the net by Alex Sandro to complete a stunning comeback after Mata had leveled the scores with a brilliant free kick.
Speaking after the game, Allegri said, “In the first game, they didn’t have Fellaini and we used his absence to our advantage.
“Tonight, he played and his physical presence was immediately felt. He controlled some high balls, although sometimes we were good at playing the ball on the ground.
“Conceding those free-kicks was our greatest mistake. That happened and we paid the price. We’ll have to learn from that.”
Fellaini has been a much-maligned player since his arrival at Old Trafford five years ago from Everton but he remains a trusted soldier of Mourinho. United can now qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League if they beat Young Boys and Valencia fail to take maximum points against Juventus.