Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri explained why he dropped Federico Chiesa to the bench for Sunday night’s Derby d’Italia against Inter Milan.
Allegri opted to match Inter’s 3-5-2 in the first half, but the ploy failed miserably as the hosts took a 1-0 lead and totally controlled proceedings. A systematic change arrived at half-time, with Juve reverting to a 4-4-2, and the visitors did improve.
Chiesa replaced Juan Cuadrado on the right side of midfield with 25 minutes remaining as the returning Paulo Dybala snatched a late point for the Old Lady from the penalty spot.
The Italian has certainly looked fatigued since returning from international duty two weeks ago, but his omission for such a big game was a major surprise.
Speaking post-match, Allegri revealed that Chiesa’s benching was a tactical decision.
“Chiesa didn’t start? Why? It could have been more physical at the beginning of the match, I needed Kulusevski to put pressure on [Marcelo] Brozovic,” he told DAZN Italy (via @JuveFC).
So, it’s clear that Allegri was somewhat concerned with Chiesa’s condition. Usually such an intense and relentless figure, the Italian has looked off the pace in Juve’s last couple of outings. He was in need of a rest, but perhaps that respite should’ve come in the week as Juventus travelled to Russia.
Tactically, Allegri wanted Kulusevski to perform a task that he did successfully for Andrea Pirlo last season. The Swede, playing off the striker, marked Brozovic astutely in Juve’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg triumph over the Nerazzurri.
On Sunday night, the Croatian, who’s enjoyed a stellar start to the season, wasn’t hugely influential and Kulusevski deserves some credit for his quiet night.
“Tonight was a good draw and good point. But we need to win against Sassuolo on Wednesday,” Allegri added after discussing Chiesa’s benching. There’s no doubting that the 24-year-old will return to the starting XI for Sassuolo alongside the hugely influential Dybala.