Juventus sit seven points clear of Lazio at the top of the table with eight games left to play in this elongated 2019-20 season, and are going into a two week spell where they play four times, with a good chance that they can seal their record ninth consecutive Scudetto in that time.
First up though is AC Milan at the San Siro tomorrow, with the Rossoneri in fine form and unbeaten since the resumption of football. Juve and Milan had fought to a close draw in the second leg of the Coppa Italia, and have only gotten better since then culminating in a 3-0 away thrashing of second-placed Lazio over the weekend.
Maurizio Sarri knows his side will have a tough challenge against Stefano Pioli’s rejuvenated charges.
“Tomorrow’s a difficult game for us. Milan, who have already created problems for us this season, are in great physical and mental condition and are playing at high levels.
“At a time like this, the mental aspect is very delicate and mistakes are only around the corner. The lads know it’s going to be a tough month, so they can’t lose focus.
“Our lead at the top shouldn’t make us relax. We’re at a time when games are all difficult and messing one up is extremely easy. We’re just focusing on tomorrow’s game. We’re not even looking at who we’re facing next.”
When asked about his squad selections for tomorrow considering two key players in Paulo Dybala and Mattijs De Ligt suspended after accumulating five yellow cards, the manager remained non-committal.
“I haven’t made any decisions yet. We’ll see what happens, but the obvious solutions seem to be Daniele Rugani and Gonzalo Higuain.
“Everyone’s been talking about how big our squad is, but right now we don’t have that many options to choose from.
“Giorgio Chiellini and Alex Sandro had their first proper training sessions yesterday. Higuain’s getting better. He’s training non-stop now and mentally he’s ready.”
Sarri has been close to Higuain since their Napoli days together, and the manager was asked about their relationship.
“I always read that I fight with everyone, when actually the only person I fight with is Higuain. I don’t know why that is, but it’s always been the case. Maybe it’s because he needs a rather aggressive counterpoint to bring out the best in him.
“Mentally he’s fine but physically I don’t know how much he can take because he’s been on and off lately.
“He needs pampering one day and beating against a wall the next! When he’s feeling down, he needs caring for.
“When he’s on a high, he must be brought down a peg because he can get too carried away.”