Allegri backs under-performing Higuain

Massimiliano Allegri says Gonzalo Higuain 'remains an important player for' Juventus despite his poor form this season.

Juve, who lost their opening Group D Champions League clash 3-0 to Barcelona, are gearing up to face Olympiakos Piraeus on Wednesday.

Higuain has scored just twice season and had to settle for a place on the bench during the 4-0 win Torino at the weekend.

But after netting 24 goals last season as Juventus claimed the Serie A title last term, Allegri backed the striker to rediscover his goalscoring form.

He said: "Higuain is not a problem – it would be a problem if he didn't play for Juventus.

"With the vast amount of options I have up front, it's to be expected that regular starters may be benched now and again.

"Higuain just needs to keep calm and focused on performing the way he knows best. He remains an important player for us.

"I talked to Gonzalo – he's okay. I think that the player has to work, he has to be ready when called upon. Gonzalo is a first-choice player, but on such a day I chose to leave him on the bench.

"He still has to think positively – he has to do what he can do, nothing less and nothing more."