Juventus take on local rivals Torino tomorrow in the Derby della Mole, which has been a hard-fought affair in recent years. Manager Massimiliano Allegri expects that tomorrow’s game will be even harder to win with how well the youth brigade has been working at Toro this season.
“We’ll see tomorrow whether experience or youthful exuberance wins out. It will be a very difficult game, as Torino are among the top scorers in Serie A and have great forwards like Iago Falque, Adem Ljajic and Andrea Belotti.
“The defeat to Genoa was basically a replica of last year’s performance against Carpi. The difference is that against Carpi we started well and had a bad few final minutes, so got away with it. Against Genoa our bad spell was the first 29 minutes.
“Football is made up of duels. You have to take men on and win tackles. The derby is always indecipherable and unpredictable.
“The derby is a special occasion. I think actually having a midweek game was helpful, because we couldn’t get too wrapped up in thinking about the derby.
“We are pleased the fans came to visit us yesterday in training. We know it’s a game that means a great deal to them and they ask for extra effort, but that’s never something they need to worry about with us.
“It’s a very keenly-felt derby and beating Toro is always difficult, as we’ve seen over my two years at Juve. Tomorrow will be even more hard-fought, but I repeat Toro are much more technically-gifted than past Torino teams. They don’t resemble the old-fashioned Granata stereotype, which is what makes this a much more dangerous match for Juve.”
Leonardo Bonucci, Dani Alves, Andrea Barzagli and Marko Pjaca are all out with injuries, so Allegri was asked about what formation he would line up tomorrow.
“You always seem to guess it, even when I think it’s impossible to do so! Paulo Dybala is fine and I have to make a decision. The good news is that Barzagli is training and as soon as he gets the all-clear on the shoulder he should be able to play, so hopefully next week.
“More than pressure, there was curiosity last season to see Daniele Rugani play. It’s always a growth process and he still has to grow in terms of technique, though he has improved a great deal in terms of character and experience. He has what it takes to spend 10 years at Juventus.
“It’s probable we will play with four at the back, especially as Torino have three strikers, but I still have to make a decision on that too.”
Has the importance of Stephan Lichtsteiner this seasons been forgotten with Dani Alves’ signing?
“He has always been useful. We made a choice to leave him out of the Champions League squad, but he has always put in good performances and been very professional.”
Torino are hosts tomorrow and have had a week’s rest while the Bianconeri were winning Group H of the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.
“We lost three games after Champions League duty and hopefully that run is now over. It’s only normal that the other clubs all hope we’ll lose.
“It’s a long season, we have 36 points and four games at our disposal before the first half of the campaign is finished, so we need to put together as many results as possible.”