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Allegri: Juve must score at Atalanta

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Manager’s comments ahead of Coppa Italia away leg

Massimiliano Allegri, head coach of Juventus FC, looks on... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Juventus travel to Bergamo tomorrow for the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi final clash to take on this season’s surprise outfit Atalanta. Speaking during the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri stated the importance of getting away goals in this fixture for the Bianconeri.

“It’s a different game to the one in the League. We must score in this away leg, knowing we’re facing a team who are having a great time of it at the moment, and I congratulate Gasp for that.

“Still, everything will be played for in the return leg.”

He went on to add about the fixture at Atalanta -

“Atalanta have become a very tough team in our league and they deserve a lot of credit as does their manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, he is an adversary to be respected. They are doing very well in Europe, in the league and also in the cup, they also have some excellent youngsters.

”Playing in Bergamo is always complicated, we will need to be spot on with our balance, tactics and technique. When we played Atalanta in the league we started well for the first half-hour, but then dropped off during the game and allowed our opponents back into it. Tomorrow is different, it’s a cup match and it’s 180 minutes, so we need to score on the road to take a lead to Turin.

”Spinazzola and Caldara are two important players for Atalanta, who have grown a lot under the management of Gasperini. In June, we will see what to do about them.”

When asked about Gonzalo Higuain who finally broke his seven game drought over the weekend -

“I’m happy that Gonzalo Higuain found the net against Chievo Verona in our last match, it’s good to have him back scoring. I also think that we have improved a bit as a team as well, against Genoa after the break we played well until we scored, and then we switched off a bit in terms of game management.

”You have to return from the winter break with the right mental attitude, as in the second half of the season it becomes more difficult to win matches, because the points start to weigh. Teams become more afraid of conceding and losing games, so they become more careful and more alert, and if you don’t unlock the match everything becomes more difficult.”

Allegri didn’t say much about squad rotation tomorrow beyond that Claudio Marchisio should be back.

“We need to understand what condition the players are in, Marchisio will be available.

“No-one snubs [the Coppa] when you get this far. Some people go out at this stage and say ‘fair enough, it’s the Coppa Italia’, but we have three objectives and we must try to reach them all.

“The TIM Cup remains an important objective of ours along with the Champions League and Serie A. It’s a competition that shouldn’t be downplayed, we don’t play for a thousand trophies but for three: Serie A, Coppa Italia and UCL. We always want to get to the final in Rome.

”It’s in Juve’s DNA to have the desire to win every day. Our next goal is now tomorrow’s game to set us up well for the return leg. Then we will think about the league and the Champions League, getting to a fourth straight final would be a great result, but first we have to think about going to Bergamo.”

The Scudetto has become a two-horse race between Juve and the Neapolitans.

“We have to congratulate ourselves and Napoli. Lazio would be second if it was a normal season, but we’ve both picked up a lot of points.”