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Allegri: Juve must be top of Serie A at Christmas

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Manager’s pre-match comments

Juventus v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League
Massimiliano Allegri
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus play Pescara tomorrow as Serie A action resumes after the last international break until March ends. Bianconeri manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media in the pre-match press conference.

"Gonzalo Higuain will play tomorrow, I do not see why he shouldn't. Unless something happens today in training.

"As for his mood, we know that in football there are moments when things are going well, and sometimes they go less well.

"He's back, he’s smiling, and is peaceful and calm. With us he is having a good season, the Argentine national team won and are on course to qualify for the World Cup, so I don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be happy.”

He said that Juve will have to be on the watchout on Saturday -

"First of all, with regard to tomorrow's game, as always the game after the break is the most dangerous, because you have to retrace what you have done in the championship, then there’s a month before the Christmas break.

"This month we have three objectives to be achieved the first is the qualification for the Champions League, the second is to keep the top spot before the Winter Break and the third is that of the Super Cup, then comes Christmas.

"On Saturday it will not be an easy match because Pescara are a good team despite their league position. But I think this is normal at the beginning, they are a team that plays very well, which creates a lot, that in all the games he created many chances, but often did not deserve to lose.

"It's normal that they lack a little experience at the top level, but we must know that we have only one possible result, that of victory.”

Oddly enough, Allegri feels the midweek Champions League game against group leaders Sevilla is not his highest priority.

"So tomorrow will be playing the best formation because Sevilla is not decisive. We have two games in the Champions League, Sevilla and Dinamo Zagreb at home. We just need a win for mathematical qualification.

"But right now the Champions League must be placed on the backburner because the prerogative is to beat Pescara tomorrow, and I repeat that it will not be easy. Above all we must get to Christmas at the top."

On the health status of the squad -

"Marchisio is fine, he has trained, I will have to decide after training today. Then on Tuesday I will rotate the squad from Saturday, this has always been the strength of Juventus and must continue to be.

"Today I will evaluate whether Chiellini is available. Benatia has returned from the National team with knee pain, today I will assess whether he will be available or not."

There’s been plenty of chatter about 16-year-old Moise Kean possibly playing tomorrow.

"The kid is growing, but it is also the time to continue to develop. He came to train with us and he did very well. Then he had a moment where he was down, because this is normal psychologically.

"The exertion of mental and physical energy in the first team is different than the Primavera..Let's see how the game goes. It may be that there is a need for him, but not necessarily. The important thing is to be ready to play."

Pescara have a rookie manager Massimo Oddo, how is he doing?

"Oddo has proven to be a good coach, he has already won a Serie B championship and it's not easy.

"And above all he is proving to have good ideas, the team plays very well, it is normal that he has to improve on mistakes. But he has all the qualities to become an excellent Coach."

Allegri also insisted that Stephan Lichtsteiner was still part of his plans at Juventus.

"Stephan is doing well, when he was called upon he has played well, but of this I had no doubt.

"At that moment I had to make a choice, unfortunately in the Champions League list I had more than I needed so I could not put him in.

"But this is not going to affect my thoughts towards Stephan, he proves himself every time he’s called into action."