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Giorgio Chiellini: 'The history of Tottenham' is coming up short
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March 8th, 2018 | 11:40 AM | 217 views
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini said "it's the history of Tottenham" to come up just short in big moments as his side eliminated Spurs from the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Juve were outplayed for the first 50 minutes at Wembley, after being largely considered second-best in the 2-2 draw in the first leg, but two goals in a matter of minutes from Gonzalo Higuian and Paulo Dybala turned the tie around and enabled the Serie A champions to reach the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.
Tottenham, meanwhile, were playing in the Champions League knockout stage for only the second time in the current format, and Chiellini said Juventus played into their opponents' inexperience in big matches.
"It's the history of Tottenham," he told BT Sport. "They always created many chances to score so much, but at the end they miss always something to arrive at the end.
"We believe in the history. I think yesterday and in the first game between Paris [Saint-Germain] and Real [Madrid], the history is important, with experience it's important, and tonight we use our skill and arrive at the win.
"Four years ago we were not as experienced, but growing year by year and match by match, we improve with many players. It is very difficult, we know, because there are all these big clubs, but we are here."
The 33-year-old also expanded on the important role experience played in the tie in his postgame interview with Mediaset, adding: "I think we deserved it over the two legs, but credit must go to Tottenham. They are lacking this little edge you need to win games like this, maybe.
"We watched the first leg of Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain and PSG were -- maybe not in control but it seemed like they would win -- but then history won that game. It's no coincidence that Real are 15 points behind Barca [in La Liga] and lose to Leganes, but come into games like this and never get it wrong.
"Five years ago, maybe we didn't have this edge, but year after year, you gain it... We've grown year by year and of course we have got to improve still -- we are not blind -- but we know we've got the quality to improve.
"But this team has a lot and if you can't get through with the way you play, you find another way. We did that and the dream goes on."
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri had said last week that he didn't believe Tottenham were a very good defensive team, and Chiellini said he expected opportunities would come for his side to take advantage.
"We knew the fantastic players that have Tottenham -- Harry Kane, [Christian] Eriksen, Dele Alli,, Son [Heung-Min] -- an amazing side, but we know they concede many chances every game," the defender told BT. "And also at the end the first half we believed it, we said keep calm and the chances would surely arrive.
"We had to be concentrated and score when we had our chances. We do it, and It was a difficult game but we are in the quarterfinals and we achieved our target."
Chiellini also got choked up in speaking about his countryman Davide Astori, who died suddenly on Sunday and whose funeral Juventus' players will attend on Thursday.
"It's very difficult during the match because we have think of the game and the opponents, and it's not easy, but he's always in our hearts, and tomorrow we go to give the last ciao together with our teammates," he said.
Allegri's change of shape inspired Juventus' second-half recovery, just days after they regained the initiative from Napoli in their pursuit of a seventh successive Serie A title, but even in such a positive week the Italian insisted they had "suffered".
"We did suffer a lot, but that's normal in football," said Allegri. "We're really happy. "They put us under pressure, most of all when we lost the ball, but after all Tottenham are a quality side, so the team has done really well here.
"We did very well to bide our time and strike at the right moment. We were under the cosh at times in the first half, but only at certain moments."
Ihsan PELITA BRUNEI
by Ben Gladwell
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