Juventus take on AC Milan tomorrow in the Italian Super Cup in Doha, Qatar. The timing of this season’s trophy is different, with it normally played before the first game of the season but moving to pre-winter break scheduling this year.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media in his pre-match press conference, warning his side to not let complacency slip in.
“We know how important this match is. Milan came a day later, but on the other hand we’ll find a very angry team who want to bring home a major trophy, as do we.
“We’re coming from a very positive period in the League and the risk is that we face this match with a bit of complacency, but we can’t let that happen because this is the first trophy we can win and we set it as one of our objectives.
“So far the lads have been very good at achieving those, we’re top of the League at Christmas and got first place in our Champions League group.
“Tomorrow we have no chance of do-overs, so we’ll have to approach the game correctly if we want to bring home the trophy.”
He mentioned that his approach towards one-legged finals was slightly different.
“I think humility is the most important thing, because with respect for your opponents you bring your best performances and go above your means.
“To win games - especially finals, one-off matches - you need to have all these components as well as technical and tactical ones. You have to play well.
“Not to mention that Juventus-Milan is always a game where the teams play on par, as has been shown in the League in recent years but also across history.
“They’ve always been 1-0 or 2-1 games, very balanced. We got it wrong in Milan last time, in previous matches we’ve won but we’ve never dominated both in terms of the play and the result.
“That’s why tomorrow will be a complicated match.
“There are no easy games, tomorrow’s match is a final and in finals, one-off games, anything can happen.”
Allegri will of course have a lot more riding on this game, considering the Rossoneri were his former employers before he was dumped by them.
“Milan are doing great things at the beginning of the season which no-one expected. They have a lot of young Italians and they have a big future ahead of them, and with the enthusiasm of youth they can play with abandon.
“For better or worse we’re a bit older than them, but thankfully we’ve retained the daring and enthusiasm of the young.”
On the game itself, he was asked if he’d use a three- or four-man backline.
“I have an idea, but there are also 24 hours until the match. We’ve had a week where Stephan Lichtsteiner and Miralem Pjanic were struggling with little knocks from Saturday’s game [with Roma].
“They’ve been improving the whole time, and between today and tomorrow - definitely by tomorrow morning - I’ll decide which team will take to the field tomorrow, bearing in mind we might have to play 120 minutes.
“Paulo Dybala? I’ll decide tomorrow, all three [Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain] could play together or just two of them could play.
“I’ll have to decide and evaluate whether [Miralem] Pjanic plays or doesn’t play.”
Milan haven’t won a trophy since the Supercoppa back in 2011, with Allegri in charge.
“That’s all the more reason to prepare for this match in the best way possible.
“Tomorrow we need to play the match in the right way because it will be difficult from every point of view.
“That year I didn’t imagine [it would be the last trophy] because I was Milan Coach and I wanted to keep winning.
“Then things changed and now I’m happy to be at Juventus, especially given all we’ve won in the last two years…
“I thank the players, and I hope the lads can deliver me another trophy tomorrow.”