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Allegri’s comments on Ronaldo, Kean ahead of Empoli game

Manager provides squad update after international break

Genoa CFC v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

We return to Serie A action after the international break, and Juventus will play Empoli looking to get another step closer to sealing the Scudetto.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri started with an update on the health of Cristiano Ronaldo who sustained an injury during international action for Portugal.

“Anyway he’s fine, he’s started moving again but caution is needed because we’re in a delicate part of the season.

“It’s better that he misses a game. He’ll return when he’s at his best and there’s no longer danger of a relapse.”

Moise Kean has taken the footballing world by storm in recent weeks, but as is his wont, Allegri called for caution.

“Kean must go step by step. He’s a 19-year-old boy, my concern is how he goes on from here, like with all young players.

“He needs to stay calm. It’s clear that he has the qualities of a goalscorer, but we have to let him take his normal path and let him grow. My job is to protect him.”

Allegri added that there were no new injury concerns to worry about.

“All our players have recovered from their international commitments, and we still have a day to go.

“Tomorrow we’ll all be in excellent physical condition, but the one that will make the difference is our mental condition.

“We must get closer to our objective of the title. Cristiano will have tests on Monday and so will Douglas Costa so they can get back fully for the Champions League.

Mattia De Sciglio is available, Juan Cuadrado will be available in about 10 days. As for Sami Khedira, we’ll see next week.

Leonardo Bonucci will rest tomorrow. In attack it’s likely that Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Federico Bernardeschi will play.”

The manager is still irked by how Juve played going into the break.

“The mental risk is due to the break, which is a bit of a thorn for us, plus the fact that a 15-point lead can distract us.

“Still, we were all angry about losing at Genoa. Tomorrow we need to put in a solid performance.

“We need to put in a serious performance, with great respect for our opponents, and win: I demand my team to be tough.

“We didn’t have the right ruthlessness in our game against Genoa, which would’ve been enough to overturn the result.

“We need five victories: let’s start tomorrow. The game is very important, we have so many challenges from now until April 22, five in the League and two in the Champions League.

“Finding ourselves in a vortex like the one we’re in only lasts for a second, so we mustn’t pull the plug now, thinking we’ve already won the League."

Daniele Rugani has signed a new deal but remains sheltered by Allegri.

“Rugani is a responsible lad and has grown a lot: the club did well to renew his contract."

On Paulo Dybala’s role in the team.

“I talked to Dybala and he knows he’s important for us. He’ll have a great end to the season."