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Allegri: Juve-Atalanta one of the crucial matches of the season

Manager’s pre-match comments ahead of Friday’s clash

Juventus FC v Genoa CFC - Serie A
Massimiliano Allegri
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus are very close to sealing a historic sixth-straight Scudetto, but as is his usual, manager Massimiliano Allegri likes to keep the players and fans grounded at all times. In that vein, his press conference today ahead of Friday evening’s game against Atalanta called for caution and stressed his focus on taking one game at a time.

“Rotation… I’ll choose tomorrow. We’ll put in place functional players for the game. Everyone is fine, we’re coming off five days of rest, Monaco is in five days so now it’s important to be focused and above all win the game tomorrow, or at least create the conditions to win.

“In football you never know how it will end, and tomorrow’s match is one of the crucial ones of the League season, those would be tomorrow and the one with Torino at home.”

Juve play against Monaco on Wednesday next week in the first leg of the Champions League semi final -

“We’re beginning an important period, but we still need points to get to the finish line in the League. On Sunday the team played a nice match with Genoa, it was one of those games we had to win.

“We’re coming off a period where we had difficult games like the ones with Barcelona, and tomorrow is a game where we need to win because as I’ve said before, Roma can get to 90 points and at the moment we need another eight.

“We’ll see what Roma do afterward, tomorrow is a match against a team which is doing important things, they really have had an extraordinary season to compliments have to go to Gasperini and to the club, who have done really exemplary work.”

He continued talking about Atalanta, highlighting the improvements made by La Dea, who are in fifth place in the table.

“They’ve improved in terms of their awareness of their means, as with everything the more results you get, the more time passes, the more you grow. They have good, top quality players and are led by a very good Coach.

“Playing in Bergamo has always been difficult, for them this is a step closer to Europe and for us it’s a step closer to the Scudetto. They’ll fight to the end to get into Europe, so tomorrow will be a complicated game but we just need to take the points.

“I repeat, to get to 91 points and be mathematically certain we need eight. Tomorrow we’ll try to get three, then we’ll see.”

The manager maintained that he had the bigger picture in mind with his decision-making.

“It’s not true to say that there are full-backs more suited for the League and those more suited for the Champions League. I have to make choices, what’s important is that everyone puts in good performances as Stephan Lichtsteiner is doing, as Dani Alves is doing, as Kwadwo Asamoah is doing and as Alex Sandro is doing.

“In the end Juventus have to try and win the League, win the Coppa Italia and win the Champions League. To get to the end in all of those then all of the players are absolutely fundamental, as I said in my last Press conference.

“Even a ball touched by a player who came on in the last minute becomes fundamental in winning or losing.”

Allegri also provided updates on the squad for tomorrow’s game.

“As for Daniele Rugani, I believe the squad list has been released and Rugani won’t be there because yesterday he took a hit, which seemed like nothing serious, but the bruising remained. Today he worked separately and he’ll be available after tomorrow.

“Moise Kean has been out with an ankle injury which he picked up in the Viareggio Tournament, he’s still not in good physical condition and he’ll play a match with the Primavera tomorrow.

“The four in defence tomorrow are Dani Alves, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro. And Gigi Buffon will return in goal.

“The usual four of Gonzalo Higuain, Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic will be up-front.

Sami Khedira will play because he’s suspended for Monaco and Miralem Pjanic too because he rested against Genoa.”

Higuain is two goals behind the leaders in the Capocannoniere list, is that a target for him?

“Higuain is an extraordinary player, he’s doing important things and above all he does a lot for the team and I think he has improved in that regard.

“He’s a player who came here to win, he came into a group which has already won and I’d say things are going in the best way, both for him and the team.”