Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is unfazed by the competition despite Napoli taking a four-point lead at the top of the Serie A table after Juve’s weekend game against Atalanta was postponed due to the snow.
“I see that we have one game less, and that on Saturday in Rome we’ll play our sixth away match in eight games.
“We missed the match with Atalanta on Sunday, so after Saturday’s game there will be 12 games left for us, of which we have seven at home and five away, so it’s a good fixture list for us.
“That said, the league will come down to the last game. It will be a beautiful challenge, a beautiful championship between two teams that are fighting.
“It’s the only [top] League in Europe that’s still open because all the others are pretty much over, or close to being over. In the end whoever wins will be the best, whoever leads the league on May 20 will deserve to win it.”
The manager also spoke about the Bianconeri ambitions for this season.
“We have the desire to win a seventh consecutive Scudetto, and above all to challenge a team which is doing great things. So for us it’s an important challenge, a beautiful challenge, but tomorrow we have the Coppa Italia and the Coppa Italia for us is an equal goal.
“First of all because in the modern era there has never been a team which has won the same competition four times in a row in terms of the national cup. This year we, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have that chance. So tomorrow is important for us, it’s like a final and we have to treat it as such.
“Then we play on Saturday again and we have to turn our focus to Lazio. Tomorrow though we obviously have the objective of reaching the final.
“It won’t be easy, because we’ll be up against a tough Atalanta side who will want to rebuild after their Europa League exit and who, above all, have a great chance to reach the final of the Coppa Italia, which doesn’t happen every year.
“So it’ll be a nice challenge but we have to make sure we’re ready. The result from the first leg doesn’t count, because 1-0 is a scoreline which gives you few advantages. Tomorrow we have to score, and if we score we’ll have taken one step forward. But we have to score.”
Allegri also provided an injury update for the squad to the game tomorrow.
“The only one who could be recovered for the bench is Gonzalo Higuain, all the others are available. Sami Khedira will be available, Juan Cuadrado, Mattia De Sciglio and Federico Bernardeschi are still out.
“I’ve already said that at the maximum Higuain could be on the bench tomorrow. He hasn’t trained at all, he’s done two sessions on the bike which doesn’t use it [his ankle] much I don’t think.
“If he does a bit of training today, if he’s good and doesn’t have pain in his ankle he’ll be on the bench tomorrow. No more than the bench.”
There were some rumours about Claudio Marchisio being discontented, but he was expected to play over the weekend.
“Tomorrow there’s an excellent chance Marchisio will play. In principle the starting XI could be Sunday’s, apart from one or two variations that I’ll have to see about today.”
Also an update on Paulo Dybala, who Juve will be desperate to have back for the away leg of their Champions League game against Tottenham.
“He needs minutes, there’s no doubt about that, but I’ll evaluate tomorrow. Paulo will be involved in the game, either from the start or when the game is underway.
“Then there’s Saturday’s match [against Lazio] which will give him extra minutes. Above all we’re missing Sunday’s game and I always say that those count, they can weigh on you.
“I definitely have to give Paulo minutes. Among other things he’s much better, he’s done well in training and we need him from a technical point of view.”
Speaking of the Spurs game, it has come into the manager’s consideration when looking at how to use his players between now and then.
“I have to look at today and Saturday, then we have next Wednesday [against Tottenham], we have three important games I have to manage.
“We’ll face the match tomorrow in the best condition, with the best team we can, knowing that in having Khedira available tomorrow I’ll have one more alternative, then there’s also Saturday’s game.
“Tomorrow Rodrigo Bentancur is out through suspension so I have one midfielder less. That means I’ll have to get an idea of how many minutes one can play tomorrow, how many minutes one or two can play on Saturday.
“Then I’ll evaluate and decide on the starting XI. Buffon will play in goal tomorrow.”