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Allegri: Supercoppa is good practice to prepare for Champions League

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Juventus take on AC Milan in this season’s edition of the Supercoppa

Juventus Press Conference - Italian Supercup Previews Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for Lega Serie A

Juventus take on AC Milan in this year’s edition of the Supercoppa, with the fixture to be hosted in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke about Juve’s poor record in the recent games for this trophy, having lost to both Milan and Napoli on penalties in past years.

“It’s difficult to figure out why, as we lost both on penalties to Napoli and Milan. I hope tomorrow will be different and that we can be more concentrated.

“There are 22 points separating the teams in Serie A, but those don’t matter here and it’ll be an important test for us. We must learn that playing a one-off match is different to a league situation.

“The main hope is that we don’t go to extra time tomorrow, as we want to get it done within 90 minutes. This is good practice to prepare for elimination rounds.”

Allegri was asked if Cristiano Ronaldo had brought a stronger winning mentality.

“He’d have to win something first to prove that. Cristiano is accustomed to winning, he has won four of the last five Champions Leagues and many more trophies. Ronaldo is the best player in the world and an added bonus for us. The situation has certainly improved with his presence, although Juve already had great strikers.

“However, let’s not forget that Juve have played two Champions League Finals in the last four years and they were against what at the time were the best teams in the world. When it comes to that tournament, you need good luck too.

“The Scudetto is one of our objectives, as are the Coppa Italia, the Supercoppa and the Champions League. We want to reach the end of the season with as many trophies as possible.”

Rumour has it that striker Gonzalo Higuain could be dropped for this game ahead of his move to Chelsea.

“I expect to see Higuain concentrated, eager and ready to make up for the defeat earlier this season. It’s a one-off match and he will certainly try to put in a great performance, so it’s up to us to limit his influence.”

Juventus had spanked Milan 4-0 in the Coppa Italia Final to end last season, what did they learn from that?

“One of the great strengths of this Juve is our great respect for the opposition, otherwise you don’t win this many games. We have the humility to know how and when to defend. For example, one of our best defensive performances was the final 20 minutes against AS Roma.

“It’s a quality we should be proud of, not embarrassed by, because you need a strong defence to win the big games. I repeat, we lost to Real Madrid because of our bad defending.

“If we do not have great humility and respect for Milan tomorrow, then it’s unlikely we’ll win the game.”

Milan will likely give new signing Lucas Paquetá.

“I saw about 30 minutes of his performance against Sampdoria, but you’d be better off asking Gennaro Gattuso about him!”

Aaron Ramsey apparently had his medical this week ahead of a summer free transfer to Juventus.

“I won’t talk about the transfer market, because Ramsey is an Arsenal player and I cannot discuss him at all. The Juventus squad is fine as it is.”

Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado, Andrea Barzagli and Medhi Benatia will miss the game but Joao Cancelo will return.

“Either Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi will step in, along with Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Naturally, without Mandzukic there isn’t a pure centre-forward as a reference point for the attack, but we’ll still fill the penalty area.”