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Allegri dismisses claims Juve are Champions League favourites

Manager’s comments ahead of Coppa Italia clash

Juventus v Chievo - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Juventus’ hectic schedule continues tomorrow with a clash against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals and manager Massimiliano Allegri started off with a squad update.

“Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira are available, maybe Mario Mandzukic too.

Andrea Barzagli, Juan Cuadrado and Leonardo Bonucci won’t be there. For Bonucci, the injury is less serious than first thought. Martin Caceres, if everything goes smoothly, will be available tomorrow.

Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele Rugani and Joao Cancelo will play, but I still have to decide who plays on the left and assess the rest, given we play again on Saturday night.

“Blaise Matuidi could play. Regarding injuries, you can’t reason with fear: you can’t know what happens. You accept the unexpected and move on.

“Will Cristiano Ronaldo play? I’ll talk to him today. He’s having an excellent year on a physical level, with so much intensity.

“We’ll then have a bit of a breather, even if this is our most important week so far, as the following two weeks give us more time to recover.

“Tomorrow Szczesny will play, Perin will on Saturday. Dybala? He had chances on Sunday night and gives us a big hand in terms of sacrifice and build-up play.”

As for the game being away from home, Allegri was not concerned.

“Football is unpredictable, as was the case in Rome. We played badly at the start but scored when we were at our best.

“We’ll play where we’re told to play. We’re playing lots of games and tomorrow we have another away game: it’s practice for the Champions League too.”

Speaking of the Champions League, he was asked again if Juve were favourites for the tournament.

“It’s not written anywhere that we’re super-favourites for the Champions League. That would be madness.

“By doing that, you don’t experience the competition as it should be experienced, that is as an objective to bring home, if we play well and are lucky.

“The League is played over 38 games and you can afford to drop off in one game, but tomorrow we can’t and the same goes for the Champions League.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Atalanta are a difficult proposition when at home.

“It won’t be easy tomorrow. Atalanta are in good shape and they came back against AS Roma, creating a lot.

“There will be pressure, so whoever make the least mistakes will win. You struggle against them because they’re a physical team with a propensity to attack, but it’s also true that they concede a lot.

“We’ll have to exploit their flaws, while remaining attentive to their strengths. For our opponents it’ll be an important evening, but we must look at ourselves, conquer the semi-finals and try to play in our fifth consecutive Final.”