Juventus go into a crucial second leg Champions League fixture tomorrow at Tottenham with Mario Mandzukic out and fitness-related question marks in multiple positions. Manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media about his starting lineup for the winner takes all clash.
“Both Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala will play. Higuain has been taking part in training for two days, so he is at our disposal and ready to play. Dybala is fully fit, as seen against Lazio, but tomorrow is such an important game that they all want to be a part of it, even if not at 100 per cent.
“There is a good chance that Douglas Costa will play. They could all play together, they might not. I’ve only got those three, so some of them have to play! Maybe I’ll remove a midfielder!
“Of course, we prefer not to go to extra time tomorrow, because we have a short bench at the moment.”
Asked about the opponents tomorrow -
“I don’t know how Tottenham will play, but considering the first leg result, there’s more pressure on them because they are the favourites.
“It’s like a Final for us and looking back at the first leg, we made a lot of mistakes to gift them chances, so we have to play better technically and take the ball off them, stop them passing it around.
“It won’t so much be a tactical issue as a technical one, of passing it cleanly and keeping the ball. We have to stay in the game, make few errors and take our chances when they present themselves.
“In a way, the Lazio game on Saturday was a good training session, because it was very balanced, physical and with few scoring opportunities and was decided by Paulo taking that one great chance. I expect there will be more space tomorrow, but we have to be very careful in defence.
“We have to keep possession better and it won’t be easy. We had more counter-attacking players when we were against Bayern Munich in 2016, but the characteristics of the players are different.”
Allegri was also asked if Spurs were similar to Juve’s Scudetto rivals Napoli, but Allegri wouldn’t be drawn into the conversation.
“Napoli play with a tiny centre-forward, whereas Harry Kane is two metres tall, so that’s a difference for a start… I don’t train either team, so you’d have to ask Mauricio Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri.”
The manager was also asked for some thoughts on the sad news of the passing of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who had played for Allegri at Cagliari.
“I saw Davide grow up in a football sense, so I keep him in my heart. I think much has been said and silence is the best thing right now. Our thoughts are with his family and above all his little girl, who being two years old, never really got the chance to know her Daddy.”