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Allegri: Juventus taking nothing for granted

Manager’s comments ahead of Champions League group game against Valencia

Italian Football Federation ‘Panchina D’Oro’ Prize Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

A somewhat chastened Juventus will take on Valencia tomorrow in the Champions League after having been upset late on in their last game against Manchester United.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke about how the loss proved to be a wake-up call for his side.

“There are so many games to go until the end of the season, from now until December 29 we have a lot of head-to-head games: Inter, Roma, Fiorentina, Atalanta. Just as in the Champions League we’ll take it a step at a time, nothing is taken for granted. Tomorrow we want to get through and secure first place, but Valencia are in good form.

“Tomorrow they can keep their qualification hopes alive, and we can’t fall asleep like we did with Manchester United. It’s just a matter of focus, and losing against United did us good because if not we’d have stumbled against Milan.

“We must have respect for Valencia, they’ve only lost one of their last ten matches. Tomorrow at 11pm we’ll know everything.”

Allegri also provided a squad update, and giving some indication of how he will the Bianconeri lining up.

“Blaise Matuidi and Giorgio Chiellini will come back in. After that it won’t be 4-3-3 but 4-3 and then we’ll see what happens up-front. It’s not easy to put Juan Cuadrado or Douglas Costa on the bench and that’s a good sign for us.

“In a few days we’ll have Emre Can and Federico Bernardeschi back. There are a lot of matches but we all have a common objective, to get to the end and win some trophies or, maybe, every one. We hope it’s all of them.

Mattia De Sciglio has taken a knock, but I have the three centre-backs if he can’t make the bench tomorrow. On Saturday Daniele Rugani played and he did well. He’s one of the best young defenders, and not just in Italy.”

Paulo Dybala did not play on Saturday in the win over SPAL.

I’m expecting a good game from Paulo Dybala, as well as the whole team. We have improved up speeding up our play but we have to keep going and we’re working on it.

“I prefer that he play as he is playing. He is better as an assistman than as a goalscorer. He’s doing great things, and his qualities allow us to score more goals.

Juve strolled to a 2-0 win on Saturday.

“In front of us we have players who occupy all the spaces and I really like this ‘disorder’, because it takes away the strengths of the opponents. On Saturday, we got a few things wrong in the final third, but we are improving.”

The manager also said he thought Barcelona were favourites to win the tournament this year.

“I think when we evaluate teams we shouldn’t look too much at what they’re doing right now. I said last year that Real Madrid were the favourites to win the Champions League and I wasn’t wrong.

”For this Champions League, Barcelona are the favourites for me. But there are two or three teams just behind and we’re there.

”There are expectations surrounding us because of the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the Champions League multiple times.”