Juventus take on Lyon in the Champions League tomorrow at Juventus Stadium, and manager Massimiliano Allegri has made the club’s priorities for the next few weeks very clear.
“It’s normal that Juventus needs to keep improving as we’re only at the start of the season. Our objective, as always, is to be going strong in all three competitions by March.
“In order to do that, however, we need to get out of the group. We can’t be thinking about winning the Champions League when we’re not even in the knockout stages yet. We have to be on our guard tomorrow and make sure we don’t undo the good work of winning away to Lyon a fortnight ago.
“It's up to the players to deliver a good performance and treat the fans to a place in the last 16 with two games to spare. That’s our first aim of the season. The second is that of topping the group. Our third, looking at things in chronological order, is to win the Italian Super Cup in Doha just before Christmas.”
He went on to talk about Wednesday’s opponents, starting off by paying tribute to club captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who preserved the away win at Lyon -
"For me, Buffon represents world football. He's an extraordinary player who, for the past 20 years, has been the best of the bunch.
“We can expect a difficult game against Lyon, who secured a fine away win at the weekend against Toulouse and played very well especially in defence.
“Tomorrow’s match for us is crucial because victory would allow us to wrap up qualification to the knockout stages and take an important step towards finishing first in the group.”
Allegri also gave an update on the squad’s fitness ahead of the game -
“Marchisio will play tomorrow. I rested him for the first 70 minutes or so on Saturday after coming back to the fold in an intense encounter last Wednesday against Sampdoria.
“He’s certainly brought experience to the midfield. In the last two years he’s really felt at home in that holding role and improved a lot, but he still has room for further growth and development.
“Sami Khedira will partner Marchisio in the middle, but you’ll have to wait and see about the third midfielder tomorrow night.
“Giorgio Chiellini aside, all of our defenders are available and fully fit. Patrice Evra is ready again after recovering from a knock last week against Sampdoria and may well feature tomorrow.”