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Allegri: Juventus - Real Madrid will be wonderful

Manager’s comments after the Champions League draw was announced

Juventus now know the identity of their Champions League quarter final opponents, and it is a team that Massimiliano Allegri really did not want to play against, but he put on a bold face.

“These will be two wonderful football matches. If we play well and we’re lucky, we’ll go through. If we don’t, we’ll go home. We must be proud of being among Europe’s last eight.

“We’re working to play in games like these, we beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals last season so maybe we’ll win this time out.

“Like I said three days ago, they’re favourites for the Champions League. If we beat them, we’ll be twice as happy.

“The team are growing physically and mentally. We’re growing in the final parts of games, we’re understanding how to attack and defend better, and that’ll be important for the end of the season.

“We must prepare ourselves better, but we’ll talk about it after Easter.”

Focusing on the business at hand though, Juve now lead Napoli by four points but face a tricky tie against Allegri’s former team, the plucky SPAL in Ferrara where they have been especially brave.

“In their last three games, they’ve picked up seven points and haven’t lost at home in their last 10.

“It’s a historic match for them, they’re playing for survival and history.

“I have a wonderful relationship and extraordinary memories of SPAL. Ferrara has always been about great football. I could feel the sheer weight of the club when I was there.

“We were in Serie C1 and had a lot of fun. We lost our last two games for the playoffs, but it was a good season.”

Tomorrow will be a classic trap game for Juve who need to maintain focus in the face of bigger upcoming challenges.

“Now we need to think about the team that must beat SPAL. The team are mature because they haven’t fallen into any traps. Tomorrow we have to pick up three points by giving the game a lot of attention and being patient.

“Tomorrow will be much harder than people think. After that, we’ll have some rest, which is good, before preparing for the final part of the season.”

Allegri also provided an injury update on the squad.

“Both Andrea Barzagli and Daniele Rugani could play. I still have to assess all the positions, but Gianluigi Buffon will play in goal.

“I know my players and I know they’re giving their all. Claudio Marchisio and Rodrigo Bentancur have always done well whenever they’ve played.

“Gonzalo Higuain is fine and he’ll play. Mario Mandzukic is not in optimal condition at the moment. He’s played a lot of games and he’s always been important for the team.”

Despite the lead over Napoli, Allegri maintains there’s everything still to play for this season.

“I have a squad of players, who are great, responsible and mature. In order to win the League, you have to win these games. There are games you can’t not win and must play with care, order and technique because otherwise it gets complicated.

“Tomorrow is one of those and the season isn’t over yet. We have a four-point lead, but there are still 30 to pick up. Napoli are a great team, they can pick up 100 points, so we may need 101.”