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Allegri: Inter are a stepping stone to the title

Manager’s pre-match comments

FC Internazionale Milano v Juventus FC - Serie A
Max Allegri against Inter last season
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Manager Massimiliano Allegri has been addressing the press ahead of tomorrow’s Juventus game against hated rivals Inter Milan. The match, dubbed as the Derby d'Italia will be in Milan at the San Siro.

“Small incidents eventually become fundamental, which is why we must realise every detail matters and it’ll be much more difficult to win the Scudetto. Just because Juventus have a stronger squad doesn’t automatically mean we will win every game.

“Tomorrow is a fascinating game, the Derby d’Italia, it is the first stepping stone to the Scudetto. Some wonder it’s only the fourth week, but I tell you it IS the first stepping stone to the Scudetto.

“There are three or four games in a season that you feel can be decisive at the end of the day and this against a strong Inter side is one of them.

“Everyone is available, Stefano Sturaro will be from next week because today he’s playing for the Primavera youth team. The only one certain to start tomorrow is Stephan Lichtsteiner – him against everyone! OK, Sami Khedira will play too.

“There will be changes, we have a series of games in the space of three days, so yes I will need everyone. Let’s also remember that the bench is not an insult, it is a choice by the Coach, and at the end of the season the winning team is the one with the strongest bench.

“In March when you lack the players to come off the bench and win you games, it becomes a problem winning the Scudetto.”

Going into this game, Juventus drew at home in the Champions League against Sevilla, while Inter lost to Hapoel Beer-Sheva in the Europa League on Thursday.

“You always say we’re favourites regardless of the situation! Last season we beat Sevilla 2-0 when they had two shots on target. This season we drew 0-0 with seven shots on goal and them not having a single effort or getting close to our box. A draw with Sevilla cannot be viewed as a failure, otherwise we’re all out of our minds.

“We know the Inter we face tomorrow is not the team who lost on Thursday and struggled to beat Pescara last week. They want to prove they are on the same level as Juventus. We want to win because we realise it’s an important stepping stone towards the Scudetto.

“I am not an anxious person, generally. We can’t shoot ourselves because we drew with Sevilla. It was a good performance. I repeat, a good performance. The result will affect the evaluation, I respect the media, but I have to look at what the team did. Balance is necessary.

“If we win tomorrow, it’s not as if we’ll automatically win the next 50 in a row. It’s three points. If we draw or lose, it changes little, this is just one stepping stone on a journey and we have our eyes on the finish line. We can’t be wavered from that path, one way or another.”

On Paulo Dybala, who has yet to score this season -

“Dybala has not changed position much, the difference is so far he hasn’t scored. This happens in the life of a striker.

“A team needs great strikers, great midfielders and great defenders. If we rotate the squad, it’ll give us the opportunity to play with the same intensity every three days. That is important and, considering our objective is to reach the end of every tournament, it changes little if someone plays 30 or 35 games.

“On Wednesday we did consider some tactical changes. I have already decided, tomorrow we are playing with three at the back.

“It’s possible to play with Mandzukic and Higuain together, we already tried it in a friendly, and with Dybala too, but these things need to be developed gradually.”

On the comments by defender Leonardo Bonucci, who said he felt “let down” by fans at the Juventus Stadium who voiced their discontent just 20 minutes into the Sevilla game -

“There were such expectations that some people expected us to be 3-0 up after 20 minutes, but that’s not football.”