It`s a difficult pill to swallow when you know you have been the better team, not just over one leg but over two, and still come out on the wrong end. Knockout football can be very harsh, and despite feeling hard done by, I feel there are a few lessons we can learn from last night:
1) Put the handbrake on
There was a stark contrast between how we dealt with going 1-0 up, and how Juventus coped when they went 2-1 ahead. You could put it down to inexperience and naivety, but it`s really more about common sense.
A 3-2 lead on aggregate is a slender one, and while it is admirable to want to put distance between us and our opponents to secure the tie, you have to play more conservatively when you are protecting such a fragile lead.
I don`t think we needed to be as offensive as we were at times. After Son put us ahead, I would have liked to have seen us put the handbrake on, break up play and slow the game down to stop Juve gaining any momentum.
2) React quicker to system changes
Allegri made two substitutions on the hour mark to try and get back into the match. I think in hindsight we reacted too slowly to the changes being made. With both Dybala and Higuain an increasing threat through the middle, and Lichtsteiner and Asamoah giving greater width in wide areas, we had to adjust our game plan.
By the time Poch reacted, it was already too late in my opinion. The cross from the Swiss substitute led to the first goal, while the two strikers combined for the second. We can blame mistakes all we like but I feel both goals may have been prevented if we had tweaked our tactics more to accommodate the opposition`s changes.
3) Concentration and decision making is key at the highest level
Clean sheets are the cornerstone of any deep run in European competition, but we failed to keep one yesterday, and it`s frustrating considering how good defensively we can be.
Teams of the quality of Juve can kill you even with a slight lapse of concentration. For the first goal, markers failed to track both Khedira and Higuain, and we paid the price.
Still, we could afford one defensive lapse but we made another costly error. Trippier tried to play offside while Ben on the other flank was standing too deep, and with the form Dybala was in, he was never going to miss. Poor decision making combined with a lack of concentration and we are out. We have to take it on the chin. We were better than Juve, just not smarter at the crucial moments.