Juventus take on AS Roma tomorrow in a game that could have serious implications on the top of the Serie A table. Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri talked about the importance of not getting carried away by the moments.
This was brought on by questions of his defence which has given up more goals than Bianconeri are used to seeing.
“Within a season, there are times when you concede more goals or a little less, the same goes for scoring. Miralem Pjanic, for example, supposedly stopped scoring free kicks (he scored from one midweek in the Coppa).
“The season is so long that it’s made of moments, and the best solution is to manage these moments. There are no failures or promotions, you just manage the players according to their condition.
“When there are big games, we always talk about balanced contests, it was like that with Napoli and Inter, and it’ll be like that with Roma…
“Numbers in the long run are never random, they say everything about the value of Juventus.”
Allegri also spoke about the injury status of the squad.
“Gianluigi Buffon and Mattia De Sciglio are out, I’ll assess Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado today and they could be available. Cuadrado could play as a full back tomorrow.
“The others, apart from Benedikt Howedes, are fine. Nothing’s changed (with the preparation), although we’ll see just how much panettone we all eat on the 25th! We’re in a good way at the moment.
“I still have to make a decision between Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner, although I have 6/10 of the team clear in my head. These include Wojciech Szczesny, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro and Gonzalo Higuain. I still have to see if I’ll play with the two or three midfielders.”
That of course brought about the media’s favourite recent topic - Paulo Dybala.
“I still have to decide who will play, but he’s back among the goals and I’m happy about that.
“In 2017, he was the player who played more than anyone else, 38 times. If he’s on the bench twice, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Speaking of how playing Mandzukic and Dybala affects the team’s balance -
“They can play together with three midfielders. It depends on our opponents and who plays at right-back. Lichtsteiner is different from Barzagli, whereas Cuadrado would give us even more thrust.”
He went on to speak about tomorrow’s opponents, including manager Eusebio Di Francesco.
“He’s balancing a very difficult environment, where you can crash and burn in an instant.
“In fact, they’re a team that have conceded just 10 goals and only one away from home. They’re the team that have played the least number of minutes in Italy and have so much quality and balance.
“It’s still difficult to talk about Alisson, I see him twice a year. I can certainly say that so far, he’s made a few important saves because Roma give away little.”
He was also asked about former Juve transfer target Patrick Schick, who ended up in the capital after the Bianconeri pulled out of the chase following a medical report.
“I don’t have any regrets because the club had an important transfer campaign last time out, signing important young players.
“I don’t have anything to envy Roma for because I already have a top team and they’re certainly a rival for the Scudetto.
“I can’t say whether their loss of form after facing them is a coincidence. They’re doing important things, but they can also go through a spell when things are a bit more difficult.”