Juventus have already pretty much clinched the Serie A title, but could mathematically seal their seventh Scudetto with a win away at AS Roma tomorrow, and Massimiliano Allegri wants no less than that.
“It’s always Roma-Juventus, the stadium is practically full, they want to reach their target and so do we. I told the lads, if you want an extra week of rest, then you have to win tomorrow.
“Before talking about how the season has been, let’s wait for the final game. We can talk about the Coppa Italia, won deservedly by the lads in a game that was balanced for 55 minutes, even if the sensation was the team was ready to step up a gear.
“Let’s not forget Juventus didn’t concede a goal in the five Coppa Italia matches, which was only achieved by Torino in 1942-43. I am happy with what we’ve done, we earned our first trophy and the lads deserved that.”
Gonzalo Higuain was benched from the starting lineup in a surprise move for Wednesday’s Coppa Italia win.
“Higuain and Paulo Dybala will play tomorrow, then I’ll choose the others. I opted to have Higuain on the bench with Federico Bernardeschi for the Coppa Italia Final because it could’ve gone beyond 90 minutes. Higuain was a very important figure, as let’s not forget he scored the winners against Napoli and Inter.
“Wojciech Szczesny will start, not Gigi Buffon, while Juan Cuadrado is suspended, Benedikt Howedes and Giorgio Chiellini are injured. I still have to decide on Douglas Costa.
“When Mario Mandzukic comes off the bench, he’s a disaster. So either he’ll start or he’ll sit on the bench for the whole game. He’s been smiling a little more lately, as he’s going to the World Cup with Croatia.”
On tomorrow’s opponents -
“Roma are a strong side, with great technique, physicality and are well-coached. It wasn’t easy to come after Luciano Spalletti, above all to reach the Champions League semi-final.
“In his first year at a big club, I think Eusebio Di Francesco proved he is one of the best young Coaches in circulation.”
Allegri has been quite bothered by recent press comments about Juventus’ style.
“Playing well or badly is relative, because the most difficult thing in the world is to win and combine it with good football. The season is made up of so many moments and incidents, ups and downs for teams and individuals, so you have to work towards the result.
“Nobody wants to play badly, but you have to make the most of the characteristics of the players at your disposal. Some Coaches are more suited to certain approaches, but the fact remains that when you’re at a big club, you have to win.
“I say that Juventus deserve credit for remaining calm after the defeat to Napoli. As things stand, they’ve still had an excellent season, keep improving their results and Sarri’s football is very pleasurable to watch. They’ve improved, as they won several games that they wouldn’t have won last year.
“They just happened to be up against a Juventus side that achieved remarkable results, but Napoli deserve praise for all they’ve done.”
President Aurelio De Laurentiis recently added that should Napoli finish level on points with Juventus then ‘he would feel robbed’.
“I won’t reply to what the President said, because he can say what he wants. I think that in football you need a sense of balance and if we want to start a journey of civilising the whole environment, then we are responsible for what happens outside. We players, Coaches and Presidents are responsible for the attitude children have when they step on to the field.
“It’s an important step we must make, because otherwise we always talk and do very little, so that is wrong for the country.”