Speaking ahead of the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri clarified the context around his meeting with Club President Andrea Agnelli, with rumours flying that there has been a rift between the pair.
“Andrea Agnelli and I met last night. It’s a meal we have every March, not for good luck but to talk about work. Everything that’s been written in the last few days is ‘Scherzi a parte’ [a prank show].
“According to you [journalists], it’s possible that two moderately-intelligent people, who have worked together for five years, fight despite being 16 points clear in Serie A, having won the Supercoppa and still in the race for the [Champions League] quarter-finals.
“We said to each other that we’d talk about the renewal of my contract at the end of the season. There’s total harmony between Agnelli and I. I never said I wanted to leave, just as the President has never said that he wanted to send me away.
The rumours about my successors slip right off me. In fact, I enjoy these situations. I always see the sun, even when it’s not there. It’s my philosophy.
“We had a meal and it went well, given we won [against Napoli].”
He expounded more about the Napoli game, especially with how the game turned into a story of two halves but the conversation soon turned back to the Champions League loss in Madrid three weeks, ago.
“The lads had fun [against Napoli] and brought gloss to a moment of sadness. We didn’t play well in the second half, but the team understood the moment of difficulty they were in and fortified themselves.
“You need games like this to go all the way in the League. It happens that sometimes we create fewer chances.
“Five years ago when I arrived, there was a fear of not passing the group stage. The club’s objective has been for the team to have a chance of winning the Champions League every season.
“From the quarter-finals onwards there’s nothing for granted. Now we have a good chance of going through because the waste left behind by the game in Madrid 15 days ago has been disposed of.
“In any case, it’s absurd to say that this season becomes a failure if we go out of the Champions League.”
The manager also provided a squad update for the game today, including a description of veteran defender Andrea Barzagli that has likely never been uttered before.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is available but he’ll be on the bench. Paulo Dybala is still playing with the knock he took in Madrid, Mario Mandzukic has discomfort in his knee.
“They trained apart today but they’re better. I’ll decide tomorrow morning, when we meet up before the game.
“Barzagli is as fresh as a daisy. He has a good chance of playing. I hope our fans come and have fun. It seemed like we we’re playing behind closed doors against Frosinone.”