Juventus take on crosstown rivals Torino tomorrow in the Derby della Mole in what promises to be a heated, passionate affair like every season. Before the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media starting off by talking about the team’s goals for the season -
“The fans were close to us on Wednesday, as they always are, but it must be clear that winning is not normal. It is always extraordinary and with each year that passes, winning becomes even more difficult.
“Each season is different to the last and for us winning a seventh consecutive Scudetto must become the primary objective, because nobody has done that other than Lyon.
“We need enthusiasm in the club, the squad and the fans, because that’s only right. That’s how it should be.”
He went on to talk about the Derby tomorrow -
“The Derby della Mole is always a special game for the city and the fans. It’s twice as important for us, because it’s a Derby and worth three points, so we must win.
“Torino are much stronger than they have been in the past, but Juve have good defenders who can counter the technical quality of their players. This season they brought in more solid players in defence and midfield too.
“Torino were already strong last season and have been completed with players suited to their character, like Tomas Rincon, Cristian Ansaldi and M’Baye Niang, so they can target a top six finish.”
Allegri also spoke in support of beleaguered striker Gonzalo Higuain who has come in for a lot of criticism lately -
“The most important thing is that Higuain has total faith from his teammates, the Coach, the club and the fans. These periods happen to every striker when the ball doesn’t go in for two or three games, but he will break through.
“We have a lot of games to play, so there will always be some squad rotation, as that is the only way to reach March in good condition.”
The manager also gave an injury update on the Bianconeri squad -
“What I can say is that Benedikt Howedes is out, as the entity of his injury will be evaluated, he had a muscular problem. Sami Khedira is back and will be available for Wednesday, Mattia De Sciglio had his four-week absence confirmed and we’ll evaluate him to see if there can be a short-cut.
“I can confirm Andrea Barzagli won’t play tomorrow. He played well on Wednesday, I prefer to have him fresher for the Champions League game. Being able to change players and the final result remains the same is because there’s such competition for places within the squad. It means everyone raises their game, their concentration levels and focus. That’s a wonderful thing.
“Blaise Matuidi has said about four words since he arrived in Turin, but he works hard, runs in a smart way and people don’t realise you need a certain degree of intelligence to play football. I think Matuidi will start tomorrow.
“Daniele Rugani has improved, he still needs to be more clinical when taking men on, to relax, and naturally he gains more experience the more he plays.”