Juventus complete their preparations for the upcoming season tomorrow with a friendly against Atalanta in Turin. Speaking to the Juve YouTube channel before the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed the clash between the two sides, starting with what he would be looking at in Saturday’s game.
“Firstly I will be looking at the fitness of some players, such as Paulo Dybala who will make his return tomorrow. I’ll give a few players some more playing time, I want to see generally where the fitness is across the whole squad.
“It’s a big test for us and needs to be a good exercise. Then from Tuesday morning onwards we need to focus on the season itself, there are three points on the line at Udinese so we need to be ready.”
The coach had experimented with some midfield roles in the Gamper Trophy last weekend against Barcelona, a game they went on to lose 3-0. What were his thoughts on how that went, specifically in regards to Aaron Ramsey and Danilo?
“Ramsey played against Monza and I think it was another good performance. I think he can definitely improve in that position.
“For Danilo, he’s so intelligent that he can play there in midfield, at fullback, I was pleased. It was a good performance despite the result. It was our second preseason friendly and only the first as a full group after just one week of working together.
“Our aim is to be ready for Udinese and the start of the season.”
What were some of the areas he wanted to see some improvements?
“Firstly we have conceded in all of our friendlies, and that’s not alright. That’s something we need to improve on.
“In terms of our play we had some counterattacks against Barcelona but we should have scored those chances. We got into good positions with ease and then failed to score too often. We need to improve that, but that’s a question of fitness.
“The lads have worked well this week and put in the effort. Tomorrow we’ll have another good workout and then the real thing starts against Udinese.”
Allegri was asked what his impression of Dybala was right now?
“He’s looked good, like the rest of them. We’re working hard but obviously the fitness varies throughout the squad depending on when the players returned here.
“From Tuesday when we start work for Udinese which is where the season really begins, I’m sure we’ll be ready.”
Federico Chiesa had a good game against Barcelona, what would be his most effective position in Allegri’s line-up?
“Chiesa’s biggest strength is his end product. He has a lot of shots, gets into a lot of one-on-ones, I think he has a much better chance of performing well on the right wing though he has had some good games on the left.”
Atalanta were only starting to hit their peak when Allegri was last coaching Juve, what were his thoughts on Gian Piero Gasperini’s side?
“Atalanta are an established team in Italy and Gasperini is showing himself to be an excellent coach. They’re a physical team, they run hard and they play good football. They’ve done well in Europe too, so they will be one of the eight teams that can complete for the title.”
To end, the coach was asked about his thoughts on the league, especially with so many coaching changes and the exodus of big players out of Italy.
“It’s going to be an even season. There are 38 games and you need consistent results. It’s important to start with the desire to win and the aim of being one of the challengers.
“We need to be in the mix by the time March arrives, that’s for sure.”