Allegri praises returning Pirlo

Pirlo was thrust back into the Juve side after recovering from a calf strain, and the 35-year-old played a key part in helping the Serie A leaders to take a 1-0 first-leg lead over the Frenchmen in their Champions League quarter-final.??

Arturo Vidal netted the only goal fro the penalty spot after Pirlo caught the Monaco defence off-guard with a perfectly weighted ball for Alvaro Morata, who was fouled by Ricardo Carvalho as he charged towards goal.

Allegri said: “Pirlo had a good 70 minutes which is excellent considering that he hadn’t played for 50 days.

“Set pieces can be decisive in these games and I needed a touch of quality on the passes in midfield to break through those tiny spaces. In fact his pass was decisive for the penalty.”

Allegri said that the scoreline, without an away goal for Monaco, gave Juventus a “slight advantage” as they tried to reach the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years.

“It’s to be expected that in a quarter-final, you don’t beat Monaco three or four-nil, they have the best defence in the French league. They’re difficult to stop on the counterattack and we had problems in the first 15 minutes.”

Juventus, who are on course for a fourth successive Serie A title and have reached the Coppa Italia final, could also become the first Italian team since Inter Milan in 2009/10 to reach the last four.

“It’s still an open tie and we must respect Monaco, who are a decent side,” said defender Patrice Evra.

“We didn’t make the mistake Arsenal made in underestimating them, even though 1-0 isn’t an amazing result. In spite of that, it gives you a platform to get through to the next round. There’s still a lot of work to be done in Monte Carlo.”

“We’re a good team and, by getting through to the next round, we’d become a great team,” he added.

“We must keep moving forward: this shirt brings enormous responsibility, especially when thinking back to the great players who have made history.” ??