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Allegri: Rugani is Juventus’ future

Manager’s comments ahead of trip to Empoli

Juventus v Genoa CFC - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus saw their ten game winning streak halted last weekend at home against Genoa, and face another tricky game on Saturday away at Empoli.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke about the difficulty of maintaining the intensity he is demanding.

“You can’t win every game in football. We fell asleep for Genoa’s goal, but the team played well for 55 minutes. We were punished for the first mistake we made. A misstep can happen, but the goal we conceded was good for the trip to Manchester.

“Genoa exploited our mistakes, but it’s normal to have less space against teams who sit back. In the Champions League it’s different. In any case, we must win tomorrow.”

The Bianconeri did virtually seal up their group in the Champions League with a win away at Manchester United midweek.

“[Tuesday] was a wonderful night of football in a fantastic stadium. We’re improving as a team and the quality of our football is improving too.

“The club made some excellent signings once again this year, which included a world-class player in Cristiano Ronaldo. Plus, we’ve had the same players for two years and the more they play together the better their understanding.

“Josep Guardiola has won loads and he’ll be up there contending for the biggest prizes again this year. Carlo Ancelotti has won the Champions League both as a player and a coach. I can’t be compared to them because sadly I have lost two finals. Hopefully this will be the year I put that right.

“Still, we’ll think about this match first, which will be difficult. We come from a great win in Manchester but also from a bad draw with Genoa.”

Juve’s opponents tomorrow will pose a different kind of challenge.

“Empoli play good football. They have the fourth most possession in the opposition half and they haven’t lost any of their games badly. It’s not easy to score goals against them. It’s a game that can get complicated if we don’t approach it well enough.”

The manager then provided a squad update.

“Ronaldo will play tomorrow. After that, we’ll see if he needs managing. We must make sure of our progression in Champions League.

Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Mehdi Benatia have great experience. If Chiellini is fit then he plays. One of Joao Cancelo and Alex Sandro will rest. Alex Sandro had one of his best matches in Manchester.

“We have to improve with our last pass. We’re not scoring enough goals. I have some great defenders, so I’m sorry to leave Daniele Rugani out because he’s our future.

Paulo Dybala is in the physical and mental condition that led him to improve, but he’s not at his peak yet.

“Mario Mandzukic is still out, while Sami Khedira is on the road to recovery. However, Leonardo Spinazzola will be called up.

“In midfield Bentancur is growing. He’ll be useful in Emre Can’s absence. He’s having his final tests, but it’s most likely he’ll need surgery.

“I still have to make a decision on Douglas Costa. We could play with a 4-2-3-1. In goal, Szczesny will remain there.”

Allegri also commented on the departure from the club of Director General Beppe Marotta.

“I wish Marotta all the very best for the future. He, together with the president, Pavel Nedved and Fabio Paratici, helped Juventus grow and become what it is today.

“It’s the start of a new era but Paratici has been here for nine years and has been instrumental to the club’s success in this period. Nedved has been here since 2001, Marco Re and Giorgio Ricci since 2003. They’re important figures for Juve. They’re not new and they have already contributed to the growth of this team.”