Juventus take on AC Milan this weekend with just nine games to go and the race for the Scudetto finely poised. Manager Massimiliano Allegri, formerly at the Rossoneri spoke about the upcoming clash in his pre-match press conference, starting with an injury update.
“Giorgio Chiellini is fine, he’ll play tomorrow. Juan Cuadrado will be available tomorrow.
“Federico Bernardeschi will be back with the squad next week, he doesn’t need surgery, but Alex Sandro has a knock, which must be evaluated.
“Gonzalo Higuain isn’t happy because he lost 6-1 with Argentina, but he’s sobered up. Mario Mandzukic is fine.
“Stefan Lichtsteiner will play on the right, he’s in a good run of form. He’s a player of temperament and great professionalism.
“Douglas Costa must have more belief near his opponents’ goal because he has qualities that only a few players have in the world.”
Regarding the formation tomorrow -
“Two or three in midfield depends on who I choose up top. From that, it depends on the characteristics of the midfielders we play.”
How he sees the next month or so playing out -
“We must have the ambition and objective of getting to May 27. Tomorrow we play Milan, then there are seven games before Napoli. It’s a beautiful moment to face, with great enthusiasm. We’re working to go as far as possible in every competition.
“Napoli are out of everything, only the Serie A remains for them. It’s an important objective for them and it must also be the case for us. We have nine games left, five of which are at home, and this is our real objective.
“We’ve played almost every game possible for a few years now. These aren’t numbers to just throw away. We’re still angry about the two points we dropped against SPAL. Now we have Milan, which will a balanced game like it’s always been, so we have to prepare well.”
On tomorrow’s opponents Milan and their manager -
“The Rossoneri are a very technical team and Gennaro Gattuso has organised them. He deserves praise. He arrived at Milan amidst some scepticism, but he transmitted his character and has been able to stay on with his style of play and results.
“I told him to retire and join my coaching team, but he didn’t accept. Then, a few months later, he retired…”
On the topic of Leonardo Bonucci who left Juve for Milan -
“It’ll be a special evening for him. He’ll always remain in the hearts of Juventus fans. He’s still very much tied to Buffon, Barzagli and Chiellini, they made history over the years.
“He decided to join Milan, I didn’t expect it, and he’ll be an opponent of ours. He gave a lot to Juventus and vice versa. When he left, it was said that Juventus had got weaker, but then Mehdi Benatia and Daniele Rugani grew a lot.
“The decision to drop him for the game against Porto was for the good of him and the team. After that, he came back and did well: there’s no problem. I have an excellent relationship with him.”
On the looming Champions League tie against Real Madrid -
“We have two games against the best team in the world, together with Barcelona.
“We must have the ambition to beat them and treat it like a world event, but our objective is the League. The most important match is against Milan.”
On the rumours that Paulo Dybala dined with his countryman Diego Simeone, manager at Atletico Madrid -
“I hope Simeone has at least offered him lunch! He must be motivated for the end of the season, although I think he’ll ultimately be one of the stars in Russia.”
On the persistent chatter about his future -
“I’ve said many times that I’m happy here, I have a contract until 2020 and I want to stay here.”