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Allegri: Juve focused on Fiorentina first

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Manager speaks ahead of Friday’s Serie A clash

Juventus v US Sassuolo - Serie A Photo by Filippo Alfero - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Juventus against Fiorentina is always a passionate game due to a rivalry that has now spanned decades. The Bianconeri travel to Florence tomorrow with a big Champions League clash looming over their heads, but manager Massimiliano Allegri wants to ensure focus is on the Scudetto on Friday with no room for error.

“We’re thinking about tomorrow. It’s an important match for us to get three points, and for them it’s a match of great rivalry, the match that they experience with huge desire, with the enthusiasm to beat Juventus.

“Last year they succeeded because we lost 2-1, so it’ll be a difficult game, also because they’re coming off a good win.

“They have a young team with great quality. Fiorentina are second in the Italian league for shots per game, and they have a young player in Federico Chiesa who has these characteristics.

“So to get out of Florence with three points you need to play a serious game. Only after that will we rest, recover, and think about Tottenham.”

There’s a hectic period ahead for Juve as they face the Viola, Spurs and crosstown rivals Torino in the Derby della Madonnina all within 10 days.

“To get to the end and win the league I think you need to pick up a lot of points, given the average that Napoli are doing and that Juventus are doing.

“If we think that from tomorrow until the game with Spal - because we have to go to Ferrara, it’s the last game before the international break - we have a lot of matches and games against good teams.

“You have to take them one at a time, tomorrow the best team will be on the pitch to play the match and win. Then, after tomorrow, we’ll think about and we’ll face them with the intention of progressing and building the foundations to do that.”

Allegri also provided an injury update for his 200th game in charge of Juventus.

“There’s a chance of seeing Claudio Marchisio, but we saw him on Sunday too, he played from 20 minutes in place of Blaise Matuidi.

“I’ll have to see training today to decide whether I’ll make a change or not. There’s no emergency though, because pretty much everyone is back.

Juan Cuadrado is still out but we all knew that would be the case. Paulo Dybala, Benedikt Howedes and Matuidi are out then the others are available.

“Douglas Costa is fine, but I don’t think he’ll play from the beginning because Federico Bernardeschi is fine and it’s only right that Bernardeschi plays in an important match like tomorrow.

“So we have plenty to play in football matches.”

He was asked about Daniele Rugani and if he needed a rest after leaving the Sassuolo game.

“No-one needs to rest, because we played on Sunday and it’s been five days and we’re in trouble if someone needs a rest.

“They’re young, beautiful and sprightly so no rest. Rugani came off on Sunday because he had a niggle in his thigh flexor and I preferred to preserve him, because there was no need to take risks.

“I’ll have to evaluate tomorrow, the only doubt I have is on the right between Mattia De Sciglio and Stephan Lichtsteiner, with the probability that Lichtsteiner will play.”

The big question of course was if Dybala would be back for the midweek Champions League clash.

”I don’t know, because I haven’t seen him yet. We’ll see when he comes back to the squad, because it’s one thing to train alone but it’s another to train with the team and find certain rhythms.

”Then Tottenham isn’t the last game of the season. If it’s the last game and some is half-fit...

”Among other things it happened to me in the first Champions League final in Berlin, Andrea Barzagli was coming off an injury but we took a risk and let him play.

”But when there are 14 league games after tomorrow, another tie in the Coppa Italia and at least one more in the Champions League why should we take risks on a player.

”We’ll see. If he’s fit he’ll be available, then I’ll have to evaluate things because I have to look at the whole season, not one game that isn’t a final.”

With all the big games coming up, is the most crucial juncture of the season?

“More than the derby, I’d go further, I’d go until the game before the international break on March 18, we’ll see what point we’re at then.

“We’ll have played a lot of games and come through a tough period, as will Napoli because Napoli have tough matches too.

“So we’ll see where we’ll be, but it’s pointless thinking about two months, three months or a month. The league will be decided at 16.45 - if we play in the afternoon on the final day, if not 22.45 - on May 20.”

Speaking about Napoli, who have maintained their Scudetto challenge this season and not fallen away like they and others have over the last six seasons.

“They’re doing great things, they’re scoring goals and winning so they’re a good team. Serie A is not like the Bundesliga because there’s a good duel between Juventus and Napoli.

“A lot, indeed 99 per cent, of why Napoli are there is because of Maurizio Sarri, so that’s honour to him because he’s taken Napoli to great levels, they’re fighting against Juventus, a team that has won for six years in a row.

“This is a team which has had excellent results and has changed a lot compared to them [Napoli], almost all their players arrived with Rafa Benitez.

“So they’ve given continuity to their work and he [Sarri] has done really well to refine that and above all given them a style of play that is really nice to watch.”