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Allegri: Juve must put in a great performance against Milan

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Manager’s comments ahead of big clash at San Siro

Juventus v Cagliari - Serie A Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Juventus head to San Siro on Sunday to take on AC Milan in what is traditionally one of the biggest clashes of the Serie A season.

Speaking ahead of the game, Massimiliano Allegri, who was formerly Milan’s manager before switching to the Bianconeri and sweeping all before them.

“Milan-Juventus is always a balanced encounter. We’re playing in front of 70,000 people in a stadium that pushes the Rossoneri on.

“We must put in a great performance, both in terms of technique and physicality, to emerge from San Siro with a positive result. Milan are in great shape, as they lost at the last minute in the derby, but won five of their last six.”

The two clubs worked out a historic switch this last summer, with Leonardo Bonucci returning after one season away while Gonzalo Higuain went the other way.

“Higuain gave so much to Juve and was decisive in this team’s victories. Over the summer, a decision was made by both parties and Milan made a great signing, because Gonzalo is one of the best centre-forwards in the world.

“I don’t have any advice to give to Bonucci. He returns to Milan, having only been there for a year, but Leo doesn’t need my advice.”

Allegri provided a squad fitness update as well.

“Mario Mandzukic could well play tomorrow, as he needed some time to recuperate physically and mentally, which is understandable after the World Cup.

“Blaise Matuidi is the same, I tried to limit his playing time, but he realistically needs a whole week off on the beach. If Emre Can had been available, I’d have sent him on vacation, but in the circumstances I still need him here.

“Sami Khedira practically hadn’t played for two months and had a great 45 minutes against Manchester United on Wednesday, then fell away in the last 15 minutes.

“Joao Cancelo has a very good chance of starting on the right. We’ve got Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi back. I don’t think I’ll rest Bonucci or Giorgio Chiellini.”

The manager was infuriated with how Juve threw away their lead to lose in the last few minutes of the Champions League group game against Manchester United.

“Juve only concede goals in two ways: on set plays and when we fall asleep, so these are areas we need to work on. There is no such thing as an unbeatable team and at times a step back helps you take two steps forward.

“In order to finish off games, you need to score goals. At the moment, the statistics show we weren’t often leading by more than one goal, which inevitably leaves the risk of something happening even at the 90th minute.

“The only thing we did wrong on Wednesday was to misunderstand the mood and moment of the game when Manchester United equalised.

“We got a bit swept up by their emotion. Their equaliser felt like an injustice considering how much we dominated, but we still should’ve remained clear-headed.”

Despite the loss though, Juve stand in good shape in the continental competition.

“The Champions League is decided in June, certainly not on Wednesday, so we should’ve been more practical and focused on securing qualification.

“Emotional responses can happen, it’s in the past now. I don’t think we need to show a reaction a such, but rather continue as we’ve been doing.

“We were upset after that defeat, perhaps because we are no longer accustomed to it, as Juve hadn’t lost a match since April. We lost the game that is least important in the Champions League group standings, so that’s some consolation.

“The fact remains, we have to increase our ratio of goals scored to chances created. Last season, we had 31 goals by this stage in Serie A, this year it’s 24, but we have more shots and score fewer goals, so that has to be improved.

“It’s only November 10, so we are on the right track. Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t play as a centre-forward, yet is the best striker in the world and we have to make the most of his characteristics.”