Juventus cruised to a 3-0 win at home over Frosinone and manager Massimiliano Allegri got an early chance to test some players’ fitness ahead of the key Champions League clash on Tuesday at Atletico Madrid.
Speaking after the victory that saw Juve go 14 points clear in the Scudetto race, Allegri said -
“The team is growing in terms of fitness. Aside from the hiccup against Parma, we have done well in Serie A, we’ve shaken off the problems caused by the winter break and are in good shape for the Champions League.”
Leonadro Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini both started after missing time due to injuries while Andrea Barzagli was on the bench.
“When there are players returning from injuries, I think it’s good to put them in from the start and let them loose.”
Paulo Dybala finally broke his scoring duck since November, getting the evening going with a thunderbolt from outside the box early in the game.
“I am happy for Paulo, as strikers live to score goals. Juventus need a player who works between the lines and Dybala is very good at that.
“The only issue is that for a few years we had one forward and now we have two. It means the build-up play is a little different, so there aren’t as many spaces to run into, but I watched Dybala make the right moves and passes, he just wasn’t scoring as many goals.”
When asked why he chose to name a full strength lineup ahead of such a critical game, Allegri added -
“The game against Atletico Madrid will be very different, we must be warier and find the right moment to score. It’s crucial that we get a goal there, otherwise qualification would be rather difficult to achieve.
“A lot depends on who is the right-back and therefore who is the mezz’ala. Douglas Costa will also join the squad next week after his injury. It’s going to be a very physical game against Atletico Madrid.”
The manager was also asked about Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi, who is currently undergoing a turbulent time and was mentioned as a Juve target by director Fabio Paratici.
“Icardi is a centre-forward who scores goals. He is young, has a long road ahead of him, but I always say in order to really evaluate a player, you need to train him. Talent scouts see them a different way to a Coach.”