Juventus take on Sassuolo in some midweek Serie A action with the Bianconeri now unbeaten in seven games but are still sitting in only sixth place in the league while tomorrow’s opponents are in 13th place in the table. However, just six points separate fourth and fourteenth and thanks to the Bianconeri’s awful start to the campaign there is no margin for error now.
Speaking to the media ahead of tomorrow’s game, coach Massimiliano Allegri commended Sassuolo and provided a squad update.
“Alessio Dionisi won the title in Serie B with Empoli, so that’s an added value for him. Sassuolo play really well, they have good players.
“We have recovered Adrien Rabiot, but Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are out. The rest, more or less, are all available.”
Allegri had come under fire after leaving Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa on the bench for the Derby D’Italia over the weekend, and acknowledged he had had a different gameplan for the Inter clash.
“Dybala and Chiesa will play, so everybody is happy. You write and I make you happy.
“Dybala has important technical qualities. He is different from Dejan Kulusevski, but he [Kulusevski] played a good game in Milan in the first 60 minutes.
“Chiesa is a top player, he’s played many games already. On Sunday, I was wrong, but I had read the game in a different way, with Kulusevski man-marking Marcelo Brozovic.
“It’s not a problem if a player starts on the bench, there are many games. Chiesa didn’t go on the bench because he deserved it. I had read the game in a certain way. Eventually, when he was introduced, we needed more quality and he had a great impact.
“Federico is a reference point for the national team and Juventus, but if I use the same players all the time, I’ll need 20 new players in January. We hope we’ll play 57 games this season and sometimes players must rest. They can benefit from it, physically and mentally.”
The coach was asked more questions about his starting lineup and joked with the reporters.
“Will Alvaro Morata start? Now you want too much, Mattia Perin will play in place of Wojciech Szczesny and Matthijs De Ligt returns.
“Juan Cuadrado can play with Morata, Dybala and Chiesa. Anything can happen.”
Is Allegri convinced that his side have reached a point of stability from which they can launch a challenge for the Scudetto?
“There is a general growth from everybody and a better physical condition. This helps me to change something because we play a game every three days.
“The players are knowing each other, the new ones are settling in, there are good perspectives for the future, but we must win tomorrow.
“We had a bad start, so there is no room for mistakes. The draw against Inter is important, but only if we win tomorrow.”
Who does he see as Scudetto favourites?
“Football is opinionable. Everybody has different opinions. For me, we didn’t play well against Zenit St. Petersburg, but we played well against Inter. It has to do with the opponents too, the opponents must be taken into account.
“Simone Inzaghi won’t admit it, but Inter are the favourite to win Serie A. Then anything can happen in football, but they remain the favourite.”