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Allegri: Juventus need to keep concentration high

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Manager’s comments ahead of Cagliari clash

Empoli v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

The last time Juventus had a midweek Champions League game against Manchester United on the horizon they slipped up and lost their 100% record, at home against Genoa.

Manager Massimiliano Allegri wants to ensure that his side are taking one game at a time and not looking too far ahead to a return clash with the Red Devils with a game against Cagliari tomorrow first.

“I’m asking for what we have to do, which is to win the game. The proof of that is Empoli where we struggled, because we started well and then fell asleep. So winning games is not easy.

“You’re playing against teams with their own goals to achieve, and then they’re playing against Juventus so getting a result is an important scalp for them, particularly this year.

“We need to show great respect and keep our concentration high to win these games, which you can only win on the pitch.”

Juventus are six points clear at the head of the table after ten games, but Allegri warned that there was still some way to go.

“We can’t afford to drop points because Inter and Napoli are behind us. It’s a long season, there are many points available and we can’t afford to get it wrong.

“The league is different from the Champions League, because in the latter there are fewer games and they’re all high profile.

“In the league it’s different, and we could put the league at risk with these drops in intensity. We actually suffered less against Genoa [a draw] than against Empoli [a win].

“Tomorrow we face Cagliari, the team that runs the most. They have good technique and a striker like Leonardo Pavoletti who is one of the best in the penalty box and in the air.

“We need to get back to winning ways in our stadium in the the league, and after that we can think about the Champions League.

“We have the chance to secure qualification and then we go to Milan before the international break. We have a nice week ahead of us.”

Allegri is a fan of breaking up the season into cycles between the international breaks, and is looking to end this cycle well.

“We’re going strong, but so are those behind us. Inter are having a great season, Napoli lost the head-to-head game and that’s the only difference between ourselves and Napoli.

“We can’t think about what has been done, we have a game tomorrow that we have to win. To do that you need great respect for the opponent throughout the game, unless you can kill it before then.

“This year we’re creating more than last year but we’re scoring less. Part of that lower percentage is scoring on a dead ball, and we have to do that tomorrow.”

The manager then provided a squad update, starting with the news that the captain Giorgio Chellini is out.

“Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi will be out tomorrow. Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic are back in the group.”

After a good start to the season Bernardeschi had looked slower in the last few games.

“We need to be balanced. Federico has made great strides, but after the first games he was painted as someone who was transformed and was already a great player.

“Then we went to the national team and came back with a muscular problem and he played through it. Now I’ve put him out and until he’s fit he won’t be back. His recent performances are due to that.

“It takes calm and balance, we got caught up in early enthusiasm, but players need to grow mentally.

“Federico made a crazy jump in quality, which is to his credit, but finding the right maturity takes time. That goes for him, Daniele Rugani and many youngsters in Italy. In Italy we get too carried away.”