Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow’s Serie A fixture against Cagliari. He started off with a quick injury report -
“First of all I’ll have to look at the training session today to see who will be available for tomorrow.
“I mean that in the sense that there are some who have played a lot of games like Sami Khedira. Leonardo Bonucci needs a bit of work because he hasn’t worked much after his return on August 2 because of various problems which were thankfully resolved.
“So I’ll have to assess it today, meaning that talking about the formation doesn’t make much sense.”
On Juve’s first loss of the season over the weekend to Inter Milan -
“By the way, I think Inter - Juventus on Sunday evening was one of the ugliest games on a technical level in the last 30 years, where we scored a goal with good play from Alex Sandro and then scored two goals against ourselves, without taking anything away from Inter who played an angry match, meaning their competitive level and desire to prove themselves.
“We gave a lot of balls to them, and when you play football the idea is to pass the ball to someone in the same shirt as you. We were lacking a lot in terms of that.”
He called for patience and insisted that he wasn’t going to change his game plan because of one poor performance.
“Then there came a drama where within 24 hours we have to ditch the work and certainties that we’ve had for years, I don’t think that makes much sense and above all it demonstrates our insecurities.
“One thing is certain, throughout the year the team will have to change system to try and take advantage of the characteristics of the players we have, who will need to grow.
“Marko Pjaca, who is a young player with a great future definitely needs more time just like maybe Paulo Dybala did last year or Alvaro Morata two years ago.
“Everything takes time, and above all we want balance because otherwise if we play a match as badly as Sunday, with all the certainties we have, it means we’re on the wrong path.”
Allegri also defended midfielder Hernanes, who he felt was given short shrift last season -
“Khedira has played seven games in a row, and I don’t think he’s done that for a long time so we’ve already made a step forward there.
“It’s normal that he’d need to recover, so we have Mario Lemina, Miralem Pjanic, Kwadwo Asamoah and Hernanes, because Hernanes is a player who last year...”
At this point Allegri paused, before continuing -
“I see that at the stadium when we play at home, every now and then he gets a bit of whistling. I think we need some respect for Hernanes, because he was very important last year.
“Let’s not forget when we won in Manchester [against City], he helped in Bayern Munich at home when Claudio Marchisio went off at the end of the first half.
“In football everyone can make mistakes, Hernanes is an important player for Juventus and must remain so because Stefano Sturaro is returning now but he’s still a bit short of top condition.
“Marchisio isn’t ready yet and will be missing for a little while yet, and every player in this squad has to feel part of this project, or rather this season because there are no projects, in football you just have to win game-by-game.
“I think Hernanes should be helped because at home that doesn’t happen because - with all the respect I have for the fans - I put him on the pitch and he just gets whistled.
“He’s a player who contributed last year like everyone else did. I have four midfielders because Khedira will almost certainly be rested tomorrow, and from that I’ll choose three.
“That is unless I decide to play Juan Cuadrado, Dani Alves or Alex Sandro as an outside midfielder.”
The manager also said that young defender Daniele Rugani would be in the starting XI tomorrow.
“Rugani will play tomorrow. That’s another example of the squad Juventus have, he’s an international and he’s grown a lot even if we haven’t seen him at the beginning because he hasn’t played.
“However, he’s a player who, like I said, grew last year and this year he’s acquitted himself very well. “He’s a player who will play for Juventus for 10 years, but ahead of him he’s got three plus Medhi Benatia, so four very good players.
“He has plenty of time to grow, he’ll definitely play this year, he’ll find space and play a lot of games. We’re only at the start.”