2018 has blown in an ill wind across Turin, with Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri struggling to find eleven fit players for the game tomorrow against Sassuolo. The manager, speaking in his pre-match press conference, said -
“Douglas Costa is very unlikely to take part, we’ll see today. He had a knock to the calf muscle and there are risks to letting him play.
“Federico Bernardeschi had a knock, so it’s just an issue of pain. We’ll see today and tomorrow morning, but he’s more likely to play than Douglas Costa. If both are out, then I’ll find 11 players to start in one way or another. It could mean moving to 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, but it’s an issue of characteristics.
“Naturally if Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa are out… Bernardeschi is the only one left, so he has to grit his teeth and play regardless. Unless he feels enormous levels of pain, he will play.”
He added that if Juve’s summer signing is not ready to go, then he did have a couple more options, none of which will make fans any happier.
“If Bernardeschi doesn’t make it, we could play with someone a little deeper, or simply use different characteristics in the position of right winger. Otherwise it’d be shaking things up that don’t need shaking up right now.
“There are options, such as Stephan Lichtsteiner more advanced or Stefano Sturaro in the front three. The important thing is to take the right approach, because we’re coming off a fine game against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia and need to get the three points tomorrow.”
Allegri wants to ensure Juve maintain their focus with little room to slip up as they stand a point behind a streaking Napoli.
“We’re in the second half of the season and cannot afford errors, because we are only one point behind Napoli and must remain in their slipstream. I always said the Scudetto will be decided in the final month, because we’ve got three head-to-head clashes in the last five rounds.
“The only risk we run against Sassuolo is losing concentration against a team that is technically-gifted and added more physicality to the side with Khouma Babacar. In recent weeks they’ve beaten Inter and drawn with AS Roma.
“At the end of the day, the Scudetto is won by the strongest team. Obviously, there is also a component of luck, but whoever wins the title will have deserved it.”